Often used in good faith by people who refer to what Free Software stands for, the term "Open Source" - originally defined to mean the same thing as Free Software in terms of licenses and implementation - has seen inflationary usage. Nowadays, it is regularly used for everything between Free Software and the highly proprietary "Governmental Security Program" (GSP) by Microsoft2.
From the 1950s up until the early 1970s, it was normal for computer users to have the software freedoms associated with free software, which was typically public domain software. Software was commonly shared by individuals who used computers and by hardware manufacturers who welcomed the fact that people were making software that made their hardware useful. Organizations of users and suppliers, for example, SHARE, were formed to facilitate exchange of software. As software was often written in an interpreted language such as BASIC, the source code was distributed to use these programs. Software was also shared and distributed as printed source code (Type-in program) in computer magazines (like Creative Computing, SoftSide, Compute!, Byte etc) and books, like the bestseller BASIC Computer Games. By the early 1970s, the picture changed: software costs were dramatically increasing, a growing software industry was competing with the hardware manufacturer's bundled software products (free in that the cost was included in the hardware cost), leased machines required software support while providing no revenue for software, and some customers able to better meet their own needs did not want the costs of "free" software bundled with hardware product costs. In United States vs. IBM, filed January 17, 1969, the government charged that bundled software was anti-competitive. While some software might always be free, there would henceforth be a growing amount of software produced primarily for sale. In the 1970s and early 1980s, the software industry began using technical measures (such as only distributing binary copies of computer programs) to prevent computer users from being able to study or adapt the software applications as they saw fit. In 1980, copyright law was extended to computer programs.
If you want to use Microsoft Office on Windows and Mac desktops, it'll still cost you at least $69.99 a year for Office 365 Personal—and it's probably worth it for the power those programs wield. But it's not 100 percent necessary: the Web versions of Word, Outlook, OneNote, PowerPoint, Excel, Sway, and others all live for free at Office.com. You'll have to sign up for a Microsoft account to store files online using OneDrive (5GB are free). But there's no lack of free options if you can live without the full-test versions of Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
The obvious choice of Office tools if you are a firm believer in open source, LibreOffice was a fork from the original OpenOffice years ago (itself an offshoot of StarOffice). Inside are word processor, spreadsheet, and presentations programs, a vector graphics editor, a math formula editor, and a database. It's a little more awkward to use than the desktop version of Microsoft Office, but you can't beat the price. Grab the LibreOffice Viewer app for Android to look at files.
The first of a few Piriform programs on this list, CCleaner—the first C is for Crap!—is one of the best, and pretty much essential for keeping a system going. What it does is simple: it cleans up extraneous files to keep a system running better. Get it and run it, regularly. It'll even delete some apps you didn't think you could get rid of—like those provided in Windows 10, whether you wanted them or not.
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This last point, which allows the software to be sold for money seems to go against the whole idea of free software. It is actually one of its strengths. Since the license allows free redistribution, once one person gets a copy they can distribute it themselves. They can even try to sell it. In practice, it costs essentially no money to make electronic copies of software. Supply and demand will keep the cost down. If it is convenient for a large piece of software or an aggregate of software to be distributed by some media, such as CD, the vendor is free to charge what they like. If the profit margin is too high, however, new vendors will enter the market and competition will drive the price down. As a result, you can buy a Debian release on several CDs for just a few USD.
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