Pricing Free Software Comments

Free software is great. Almost everyone using a computer will agree. If it's Firefox, OpenOffice, GIMP, Cinelerra, or GNU/Linux as the entire operating system itself. People agree it's great.

Firefox has become a very popular web browser for Windows, used at a similar level on Macs, and, is the default web browser for many popular GNU/Linux distributions, such as Ubuntu, and, included with almost all GNU/Linux distributions, even if it's not the default browser.

GIMP has made waves in the image editing world for being -- in our opinion -- the most functional, feature-rich, and powerful free image editor. As in free beer, and as in freedom of speech. Free software.

Cinelerra is the -- again in our opinion -- best, most functional, feature-rich, and powerful free software video editor for GNU/Linux, and possibly better than any free video editors for Windows. Especially the Cinelerra community version.

With these four programs being among the best, and most used. How much would you pay for these programs if they weren't free? Here is our personal answer to that question.

MOZILLA FIREFOX: $25*
Firefox logo *Firefox is a web browser, there aren't many pay-for web browsers; there are many proprietary web browsers, i.e. Internet Explorer, but, not many pay-for web browsers.

So, the only good way we think there would be to pay for a web browser, is in addition to a monthly internet bill, from a provider like Verizon Communications, Inc.. So that would be 25 dollars a month.

OpenOffice.org 3.0: $200 and higher.
OpenOffice.org 3.0 logo OpenOffice.org is compared to Microsoft Office very often. The quality of this software is -- not only comparable but also -- roughly the equivalent to one of the versions of Microsoft Office. And, it's free software. Licensed under the GNU Lesser General Public License v3.

OpenOffice.org is more of a cross-platform office application suite than Microsoft Office. It's available for a number of different operating systems, such as GNU/Linux, Unix, Solaris, Windows, and Mac OS X. Where Microsoft Office is only available for Windows, and Mac OS X.

It supports the ISO/IEC standard OpenDocument Format (ODF) for data interchange as its default file format, as well as Microsoft Office formats among others, and supports over 80 languages. Where Microsoft Office only supports 35+ languages.

AVG: $40 for a one year subscription.
AVG logo GNU/Linux doesn't have any wide-spread viruses. Many viruses have been written for GNU/Linux, but, have been either made incompatible due to a patch/update, in both GNU software and the Linux Kernel, or in Firefox, Konqueror, etc.. And many viruses were just to show that GNU/Linux was vulnerable to viruses, but, none of these viruses were wide-spread or able to self-install, and some couldn't even be installed on purpose unless installed in "super-user" mode known as root.

In Windows on the other hand. Viruses are a very big problem. AVG is worth a 50 dollar one year subscription. AVG has the power of other commercial virus scanners such as ESET NOD32 anti-virus. Also, AVG does have a commercial version of their software, currently priced at $54.99 for a one year subscription, and, $79.99 for a two year subscription.

AVG is proprietary software. So, free as in free beer only.

ClamAV: $50 for a one year subscription.
ClamAV logo ClamAV is at or around the same quality of the AVG anti-virus software. The one major difference is that ClamAV is free and open source software, where AVG is not.

Many GNU/Linux and FOSS enthusiasts only use free software, as in freedom of speech, where the software can be used, modified, redistributed, and even sold under something like the GNU General Public License, which ClamAV is licensed under.

ClamAV is a GNU/Linux, AIX, BSD, HP-UX, OpenVMS, OSF, Mac OS X and Solaris anti-virus program, so it cannot be used on Windows, unless you use an older version. ClamWin for example.

GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program): $350.
GIMP logo Compared to the Adobe Photoshop price tag, this price is lower. For a graphics program nearly capable of the same image manipulation. With tile based memory management, GIMP has been able to handle editing of images up to sizes only limited by available disk space, for a very long time.

GIMP is available for Unix, Windows, and Mac, Unix of course meaning UNIX itself, GNU/Linux, BSD, and other Unix-like operating systems.

CINELERRA: $600-$850-CV*
Cinelerra logo Compared to the Adobe Premiere Pro price tag, this price is currently low.

*CV stands for "Community Version" and the price we would pay for the Community Version is higher because it is of higher quality.

Cinelerra is a non-linear video editor. It is designed for GNU/Linux, and has also been successfully ported to Mac OS X. Making it a *nix only program. Cinelerra is not supported on any version of Microsoft Windows. It is produced by Heroine Virtual, and is free software distributed under the GNU General Public License. Cinelerra includes a video compositing engine, allowing the user to perform common compositing operations such as combining visual elements from separate sources into a single video, and special effects, in real-time.

GNU TOOLCHAIN: $600.

GCC (GNU COMPILER COLLECTION): $250.

GNU OPERATING SYSTEM: $800-$1200 - complete and using a GNU kernel.

LINUX KERNEL: $300.

GNU/Linux: $1000-$1500.

Much more free software is worth a pretty penny, but, the software we listed above is free software. Free software is something that has to exist, and thankfully it does. So we don't have to pay a cent for this software, and we are free to do with it as we please, excluding AVG. Free software should stay free, the GNU General Public License (GPL) helps with that. If you're a software developer, please consider releasing your source code under the GPL or something like the GPL.

With that being said. It's possible for our prices to be biased, because of the positive impression they have for letting us be free, to use, modify, redistribute, and even sell the software.

And, the price we would pay for free software may not be what you would pay for free software, this article is our budget for such software. Please feel free to leave a comment with what you would be willing to pay.

External Links:
Mozilla Firefoxnewwin
AVG anti-virusnewwin
ClamAV anti-virusnewwin
GIMP (GNU Image Manipulation Program)newwin
Heroine Virtual Cinelerranewwin
HV Cinelerra Community Versionnewwin
GNU Toolchain at Wikipedianewwin
GCC (GNU COMPILER COLLECTION)newwin
GNU Operating Systemnewwin
Linux Kernelnewwin

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