Tech Insider					     Technology and Trends

Free as in No Cost side 
Michael Halcrow 
Wed, 28 Aug 2002 21:24:27 -0700 

Here is my proposed text for the "Free" as in "No Cost" side of the
booth display:

The text of it:

�So What's the Catch?�

We get this question a lot. Really... there is no catch. We swear! We're
just a bunch of geeks who think that Free Software is really cool, and
we want our fellow college students to try it out.

Free Software (a.k.a. �Open Source�) is developed by programmers who
love to write computer programs. They do it for free, as a hobby. The
Internet allows them to collaborate across the globe to produce the
software. The phenomenon of a handful of programmers working a few hours
each week on their favorite projects has led to a plethora of pretty
impressive Open Source software.

Because the programmers all share their source code with one another,
they are able to integrate their work and freely reuse one another's
computer code. This synergistic exchange of source code helps accelerate
the development cycle, since the developers can avoid �re-inventing the
wheel,� as most of the commercial software industry has been doing for
the last 20 years.

So why do people write computer code for free? There are many answers to
this question.

Some of them are stuck in dead-end jobs where they don't get to work on
the projects they really want to work on. Open Source projects provide
them the avenue whereby they can develop what they really want to
develop. They enjoy making something that they feel is worthwhile and a
real accomplishment.

Other Open Source contributors are in the academic arena. They are
students and professors who wrote computer code to assist them in the
process of pursuing their research. Rather than let the code atrophy on
their hard drives, they found that they were able to distribute their
programs over the Internet to a worldwide audience. Not only that, but
the GNU Public License (GPL) allowed them to give others the opportunity
to use, study, modify, and re-distribute their code, without the fear of
their ideas being taken away from the community by proprietary software

The result of the efforts of hundreds of Open Source software developers
over the years is a large collection of quality applications that you
can obtain and use at no cost. Some of these programs include:

The Linux Operating System

OpenOffice Productivity Suite

Mozilla Web Browser

GIMP Graphics Editing Tool

KDE and Gnome Windows Managers

Evolution Mail Client

...and hundreds more. They are packaged in popular Linux distributions,
such as RedHat, Mandrake, SuSE, or Debian, and they are freely
obtainable over the Internet.

For more information, visit the BYU Unix Users Group web page at

---------------------------------------- | ------------------------
Michael Halcrow                          | [EMAIL PROTECTED]    
Research Assistant, Network Security Lab | Dept. of Comp. Science  
                                         | Brigham Young University
Most people aren't thought about after   |
they're gone. "I wonder where Mike got   |
the plutonium" is better than what most  |
get.                                     |
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