What is the advantage of choosing Free and Open Source software over proprietary software?

Many studies have found that FOSS is less vulnerable to attacks and malware than proprietary systems. And when vulnerabilities are found, they are usually patched faster.

In a 10 month stress-test in 1999, Windows NT (the top windows server platform at the time) crashed an average of once every 6 weeks. None of the Linux servers crashed during that entire period.

Open standards and vendor independence
Open standards give users, whether individuals or governments, flexibility and the freedom to change between different software packages, platforms and vendors.

Reduced reliance on imports
Proprietary software is almost always imported, with the money going out of the country. FOSS is usually financially free, and can also be developed within the country.

Developing local software capacity
With it’s low barriers to entry, FOSS encourages the development of a local software and support industry.

The easily-updatable nature of FOSS allows for the fasst creation of software that is tailored to the local language and culture. This is almost impossible with proprietary softawre.

Note: Taken from a flier I got during Apache Asia 2009 Roadshow in Colombo. Supplement prepared by The Linux Center, Sri Lanka.