Everywhere you look online you will come across different types of free antivirus programs some of which work and others that do not. If you have used the word “free” in your search terms you may also have come across different varieties of open source software which is also available for free. How are they different?
Free antivirus programs and open source software are both free for the asking however, up until recently there has not been a prominent open source presence in the world of antivirus software. As the number of viruses and malware increases open source software programmers have been researching the concept and have already produced some effective virus protection programs. Let’s take a look at both types of freeantivirus to provide an understanding of the difference.
Free Antivirus Software
Free antivirus software is very prevalent with many different types and varieties available on the Internet. Each program performs slightly different functions with some that do a very good job of protecting your PC and others that do not provide adequate protection. It is up to you to do your research to find the programs that perform well and are derived from trustworthy websites.
Most free antivirus programs are completely free where others are free for a period of time before you are requested to pay for them. Some programs provide a comprehensive security suite with malware protection, email scanning, identity theft protection and more, where other programs are only capable of identifying and removing only the most common viruses and malware.
Almost all free antivirus software programs provide updates to the software itself as well as the latest virus and malware definitions however the issue of tech support depends upon the provider of the program. Usually you can access tech support if you upgrade to the paid version of the program but some freeantivirus programs will provide you with limited tech support.
Open Source Antivirus
Like free antivirus software open source is also a free download. Although other open source platforms such as WordPress and CRM systems have become widely used, antivirus software still remains a challenge for the open source prototype. There are currently a few active programs but it is still unclear as to how well they work. If you are a Linux user your chances are less of a virus attack however, there are many other types of servers for email and data that run on Linux but service users of the Windows operating system.
One of the open source programs is known as ClamAV which is a solution for Linux and Windows which provides a source code for users who download the program which allows for modifications. This means users must have knowledge of source code building in order to install the program on a wide range of operating systems.
When compared to freeantivirus which utilizes a definition database, open source antivirus builds its definition database through user input from the open source community. If a user detects a malicious file they contribute the signature to the software database to benefit the other members of the open source community. Some will debate that this poses dangers to your operating system where others will argue that it makes malware quicker and easier to find on your PC. Although the open source industry has created software that rivals some of the paid versions, the antivirus sector is still an unknown to open source software but under construction. For this reason, many users choose the familiarity of free antivirus for the time being while open source evolves.
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