The Battle Between Commercial Software and Open-Source Software

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Will commercial software survive the battle with open Source software or are they already losing? How (if at all) are the commercial software houses defending themselves?

Part 1: Basic Concepts:

Free and open-source software (FOSS) is software that is both open source software and free software. This means that it is freely licensed to use, examine, copy, alter the source code of the software, and the source code it self is openly shared. However, for software to be considered FOSS it must pass a certain criteria established by the Open Source Initiative (OSI). They determine that FOSS must have a completely free redistribution with no form of royalty or other form of a fee for the sale (resellers) and the source code must be
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Therefore, it falls into the distinct categories of shareware (demo or trial software where you can download it for free but some features are restricted or to continue to use the software a payment is required) and payware (traditional pay-to-use software) but not freeware (since its free). In all cases however, the source code is hidden from the users, so that the rights holders (the software publishers) can sell the binary executable (source code).


Commercial software has been around since 1948 (when the first computer which could hold software was created, nicknamed baby). The history of FOSS has a strong connection with the ‘hackers’ in Massachusetts Institute of Technology. These hackers in 1970s created something ARPANET (known today as the internet). There were discussions to sell it commercially however the university and its hackers were strongly opposed to such an idea for they had worked with the ideology that sharing information is a virtue and they had a moral duty to provide knowledge to the world. These early hackers stayed true to this ideology and made their software completely free with the source code completely accessible. Richard Stallman was one of the main people who pushed forward this ideology preventing the university to monetize the ARPANET and the software they created.

Late in 1997 in MIT the term Open Source software was coined. The developers also founded OSI who determined what is
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