The cost of the Software is not the primary reason for people who start to use Free Software and continue to use it.
Free Software is software that leaves the User free to do what they want. Read the ULA for Microsoft. You are limited by the license in what you can do. You are not allowed to study or modify the programs. You are allowed to use the software only on certain machines, and only for certain tasks. Free Software has no such limitation.
The Article points out that Free Software users are OK with paying for good software. Many DO pay for Free Software. However, most Free Software (FLOSS, means not no cost, but no restrictions) users find that there are free alternatives that respect users rights.
This applies to both individuals and organizations. Red Hat is a Billion Dollar Corporation that gives over $100 Million a year for Free Software development. They make most of their money on Consulting Services. IBM pays close to a Billion Dollars a year to Free Software. They make more than that off of it (Hardware sales and Consulting Fees). Hewlett Packard makes similar claims. So does Google and Yahoo. So do several Banks, Stock Markets and Insurance Companies. The value is much more in the freedom of the user than in mere cost.
You will not understand Free/Open Source software until you understand the economic value of freedom. When an application is available that respects the users freedom, the propitiatory programs that do not respect the users will lose market share. This is happening in Office Suits and Operating systems right now.
This is especially important in industries where the various parties don't trust each other. For example, the Motion Picture Industry, where all the studios use Free/Open programs to render nearly all modern movies. Both animated and non animated. They know the others are sharks, but Free/Open software allows them to work together. No one can take advantage of the others, and no one studio has the resources to match all the others.
No one organization has the resources to match all the others in any endeavor. That is why Microsoft is always playing catch up to Linux in performance and security. Apple hitches a ride on the back of the Free BSD community. BSD is fine with that.
I hope this will give you some idea of what is going on.
Eric Raymond found utility in Richard Stallman's ideals. Raymond was the big pusher for early Open Source, while Stallman was the major backer of Free (Libre) Software. they are still at odds about what the most important benefit is, utility or personal freedom, but that's philosophy. Both agree that the Four Freedoms inherent in the GNU GPL are vital. There are several essays on the internet that treat this in detail, if you are interested.
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