One of the most powerful movements in the information technology community today is the widespread adoption of free and open-source software (FOSS). What was once an idealistic fringe movement conceived and formalized by MacArthur award laureate Richard Stallman has now become one of the most powerful influences in the world of information technology. As FOSS systems grow in popularity, questions of the reliability and security of these systems emerge, especially in comparison with proprietary systems. This paper surveys the arguments presented by proponents of each type of software in published reports and discusses the deployment and reliability figures for both FOSS and proprietary systems as well.
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