^ Waring, Teresa; Maddocks, Philip (1 October 2005). "Open Source Software implementation in the UK public sector: Evidence from the field and implications for the future". International Journal of Information Management. 25 (5): 411–428. doi:10.1016/j.ijinfomgt.2005.06.002. In addition OSS’s development process is creating innovative products that are reliable, secure, practical and have high usability and performance ratings. Users are now not only benefiting from the OSS revolution but also from the improved proprietary software development that is being forced upon suppliers in order to maintain competitive advantage.
If you've got a Microsoft account, you have access to Outlook.com, the successor to Hotmail and Live mail and our Editors' Choice for Web-based email. There's still the Outlook program itself for Windows and Mac—it comes with Microsoft Office—but this free option is a perfect, minimalist, consumer-based webmail, complete with OneDrive integration. Interesting features include Sweeps, so you can, for example, delete all messages from one sender at once, and built-in chat—including Skype video chat. The version for iOS is particularly great.
Imagine not having the hassle of Windows, but still being able to run (most) Windows programs? That's the goal with ReactOS, which builds on the old Windows NT architecture as an open source operating system. And it only takes a 150MB to install it, so it's small. You can grab it as a full installer, or make a LiveCD version that boots off a disc to give it a try.
The economic viability of free software has been recognized by large corporations such as IBM, Red Hat, and Sun Microsystems.[63][64][65][66][67] Many companies whose core business is not in the IT sector choose free software for their Internet information and sales sites, due to the lower initial capital investment and ability to freely customize the application packages. Most companies in the software business include free software in their commercial products if the licenses allow that.[18]
Fees are usually charged for distribution on compact discs and bootable USB drives, or for services of installing or maintaining the operation of free software. Development of large, commercially used free software is often funded by a combination of user donations, crowdfunding, corporate contributions, and tax money. The SELinux project at the United States National Security Agency is an example of a federally funded free software project.
Imagine not having the hassle of Windows, but still being able to run (most) Windows programs? That's the goal with ReactOS, which builds on the old Windows NT architecture as an open source operating system. And it only takes a 150MB to install it, so it's small. You can grab it as a full installer, or make a LiveCD version that boots off a disc to give it a try.
Ubuntu updates yearly, once majorly and once with just fixes. But each iteration brings new tools and developments. Last year the Linux distro even made the leap to tablets; that after trying to power smartphones in 2015. The latest version for desktops and laptops comes with a full suite of software (including LibreOffice), access to thousands more (and many free—just look for the penguin icon throughout this story). It's the Linux of choice here at PCMag, for it's one that is easy to master by just about any user.
Google Drive has morphed over the years to become the official place where you store your cloud files for use with Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides (Drive's online and mobile equivalents to Word, Excel, and PowerPoint). But it also doubles as a sync service on the desktop, a la Dropbox or OneDrive, storing any kind of file, with apps for access to those same files on mobile devices. Throw in the office suite aspects and the 15GB of free space online (shared with other Google services), and you've got a real winner, worthy of a 5-star rating.

Software that is free only in the sense that you don't need to pay to use it is hardly free at all. You may be forbidden to pass it on, and you are almost certainly prevented from improving it. Software licensed at no cost is usually a weapon in a marketing campaign to promote a related product or to drive a smaller competitor out of business. There is no guarantee that it will stay free.
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