Why & How Are Few Apps & Software Free? - PC SEEKERS

Why & How Are Few Apps & Software Free?

Image by Coffee Bean from Pixabay
 

Last week we wrote an article about why companies like Google and Microsoft offer web browsers free of cost. Today we will look at why and how few apps and software are also offered free of cost and how to they actually make money. Specially this happens a lot with Open-Source Software. Open-source is a term that refers to a software for which the original source code is freely made available and may be redistributed and modified. 


Also Read: Why Are Web Browsers Free?


Plenty of well known programs and operating systems are in fact open-source such as Android, Firefox and Linux just to name a few of them. One of the ideas behind open source software is that it can help businesses and organizations by allowing them to collaborate more easily to develop a free open-source software program instead of different proprietary ones. Some companies like IBM are well known for providing funding to open source projects simply so that they can reap the benefits of the technology without dedicating their own human resources to its creation.

 Image credits: IBM

Open-source software spreads out the burden of checking for security issues and open-source software and apps can easily be modified for special purposes. An example of this is the way that many smartphone manufacturers tweak android to give their users a more customized experience for better or for worse.


Few other companies develop open-source software and give it their customers for free and then on top of it make money by selling paid add-ons to the software or app or by selling technical assistance, support, training and  other such services. A good example of such company would be redhat that develops and distributes Linux distros for free and then charge for paid add-ons that an individual or a company might require to work efficiently. They also sell support, training and technical assistance. Redhat also sells automation and infrastructure as well as many other services that help them earn money by distributing an open-source free to use software.

 

Also Read: Understanding the USB Naming Scheme - USB 3.2 Gen 2x2?


Many other companies have many other approaches that may be are a little for obvious, for example advertising, and Firefox is a really good example of this. For the developers of Firefox, one of the big sources of income has been from Google and other search engines paying as much as 100s of millions of dollars a year to be the default search engine on Firefox. 


One other big open-source software that rakes in a lot of money is Android. Google developed the android OS and provided it for "free" to be used in millions of devices unlike other operating systems like Windows 10 that cost money upfront. Turns out Google was playing a long game here, they are now making massive amounts of money from users buying content and apps on its stores with google taking a cut on each transaction. 


Few other open-source platforms makes money directly by raising cash from their users instead of making users to buy something from them. Wikipedia for example stays afloat just from merchandise sales and the banner ads that ask you to donate money so that Wikipedia can "thrive for years".

 
 Image credits: Wikipedia
 


Do let us know your opinions about open-source software down in the comments section below.

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