Open source software (OSS) has become a buzzword sometimes burdened by misperception and misunderstanding. The OSS movement is deeply rooted in the Linux/Unix community, and it's based on the premise that developers distribute their software complete with the source code for inspection or customization. But OSS software is not limited to the Linux and Unix operating systems—increasingly, OSS applications are available for Windows, too, even though Windows itself is a closed-source platform.
Budget-minded small business owners can choose from a number of free, open-source applications designed for Windows that will reliably handle their productivity needs. Better still, many OSS programs support Mac and Linux machines, too, meaning that customers that use those platforms can share compatible files and the same software experience.