FOSS, or Free and Open Source Software, is a software phenomenon where software developers freely distribute their source code alongside the software they produce. This used to be almost a defacto standard of how things were done in the software and hardware world of the 60s and 70s. You would buy a new piece of equipment, and the vendors would also supply a user manual alongside the source code so that you could make any necessary tweaks you needed in order to get it working in your environment. Sometimes there would be updates to other components that you already had. This would require a tweak in the files like these. And since the early programmers were probably a good majority of the users of such software, they had the capability to actually make said changes.

The software that I had in mind is actually Open Office. I switched to using this after being fed up with licenses and yearly fees from Microsoft. It has been a great addition to my computers, and I mainly use the “Writer” and “Calc” programs. Those are replacements for Microsoft Word and Excel, respectively. The programs look good, and they run fine, although I don’t have much experience with using super large files in them. I remember back in 2009 I tried using OpenOffice on my Ubuntu computer at the time. I like it at first, but then came the crashing. And when you’re working on a Writer document you sure as hell didn’t want to lose all that data.

They must have patched out those bugs, or at least, they have more data recovery options by now, because if I ever force-restart my computer Open Office always comes back with a recoverable option for my document. And that solves that reliability problem that I had. As for everything else, the software suite is feature-dense, and has everything that you need to make a document look as good as it did when you made it in Microsoft Office.

Now, there are some benefits to using free software. You don’t have to pay. You don’t have to be hounded by a license checker. This free software can output the same format as word documents. And you don’t have to subject yourself to any data-collecting or telemetry that your vendor might impose upon you. This is a big reason why I use this software instead of Google Docs. I used to have a lot of different Google Docs in drive, but that was from 2008-2015ish. Now I try not to put anything in there. Whatever you type into these big companies could be data-mined to better-target those ads for you. And we don’t want that. So that is why you should use Open Source (Free) Software.

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