There are many reasons to consider using open source software. Here are some of them:
- You can use open source software legally and at low cost. This is especially important because illegal software (especially illegal copies of Windows) do not qualify for security updates, leaving your computer more vulnerable to viruses, worms and other computer nasties.
- Good quality open source projects take software security seriously. Ubuntu releases security updates for its software automatically and for free. Open source software - in particular open source operating systems - tends to be much less vulnerable to viruses and spyware than Windows. (Open source software does not eliminate security issues, however.)
- Lots of open source software exists, including good-quality alternatives to many popular applications. Software for niche interests varies in quality but is often available. Depending on your interest there may already be a community of people who use and develop open source software for that need.
- You can try different software packages cheaply, and uninstall them if you don't like them. Linux distributions like Ubuntu collect a wide variety of software into repositories, which make discovering, installing and upgrading new software especially easy. (Interestingly, this is only possible because open source software can be repackaged and redistributed freely.)
- With open source software, you usually get full versions of products -- not trial versions, ad-laden nagware, or "home" versions with reduced functionality.
- Open source software exists in a culture of sharing and collaboration. Users help each other with technical support. Most open source software is free of nag screens and demands to upgrade to a paid product. Open source software is freely given; you can use it without feeling slimy or dishonest. You can also copy installation discs and give them to others legally.
- If you are interested in jobs in the computer industry, open source is invaluable because it gives you access to the same software tools that are used to power mail servers, webservers, supercomputers, and smart phones. Developing proficiency in these technologies can make you more employable without costing you a lot of money.
- There are many opportunities to contribute to open source software, and you are encouraged to do so. You might support other users, write documentation, file bug reports, or contribute a plugin to make the software you use better. Contributing something back can do a lot to boost your self-esteem. Many projects also accept financial contributions.