Free Software Is Reliable

Free software has a reputation for reliability throughout the user community. Day in and day out, its users expect it to perform with few or no complications in every type of application:

“When my co-workers can't get their proprietary tools to do the job they need, they frequently come to me. A recent example was one of our top programmers trying to track down a bug… He tried to enable exceptions on his commercial development environment (Microsoft's “Developer Studio”) and was met by constant crashes of not only his program, but in fact the debugger and his entire computer. In frustration he asked me to load the code into gdb (the GNU debugger). I had never used floating point exceptions before, but I easily determined how to enable them on my [GNU/]Linux system, and gdb gracefully caught the SIGFPE [exception] moments later.”

Adam Wiggins
Software Developer

In industries like nuclear engineering, companies cannot afford to compromise reliability in their tools:

“For your information, at JET, the world's foremost research project for the development of nuclear fusion technologies for production of electricity, … GNU software is well used and appreciated. GNU Emacs is used almost universally. GCC/BASH/GAWK and many others likewise.”

Colin Manning
JET Project

“[GNU/]Linux has been extremely reliable. We are able to run the primary server unattended in a remote location. It has never crashed, despite two occasions when a runaway process exhausted all memory.”

Jeff Breidenbach
The Mail Archive

“I have never managed to crash GCC in nearly a decade of trying, and have never had a program break because GCC compiled it wrongly. Other FSF tools, like GAWK, are used on a daily basis in responding to new issues as clients present them, and countless utilities like BASH and the bin-utils operate so reliably that we often forget that they're there.”

Leon Brooks
Systems Administrator for a small Internet Service Provider
Claremont, Western Australia

“We have found GNU software to be better supported and of better quality than any proprietary software that we've tried.”

M Carling
CIO, Axis Personal Trainers and Spa

“To mention GNU software, GCC (the GNU C language compiler) was used to compile software. No problems, didn't ever give it a thought. It simply worked.”

Peter J. Darke
Program Consultant
General Practitioners Network, Australia