Free and open-source software (FOSS) is computer software that can be classified as both free software and open-source software. That is, anyone is freely licensed to use, copy, study, and change the software in any way, and the source code is openly shared so that people are encouraged to voluntarily improve the design of the software. This is in contrast to proprietary software, where the software is under restrictive copyright and the source code is usually hidden from the users.
The benefits of using FOSS can include decreasing software costs, increasing security and stability (especially in regard to malware), protecting privacy, and giving users more control over their own hardware. Free, open-source operating systems – such as Linux – are widely used today, powering millions of servers, desktops, smartphones (e.g. Android), and other devices. 1
A separate – and even stronger case – can be made for the benefits of public service providers using FOSS.