Open Source Software

Open source software permits a user to view, modify, study and manipulate a program’s source code to improve and develop the software. This is a collaborative process where anyone can contribute but then must share to enable other users to access the open source software. Open source development is based on peer-to-peer process and is usually compared to user-generated content.

external image OSI-logo.png
The Open Source Initiative determines whether software can be licensed as open source. This was written and complied by Bruce Perens. Open source software must adhere to the guidelines in order for it to be defined as open source.

  • The software must be freely distributed and not require payment or royalties.
  • The program must include the source code and the preferred form of the code must be available for the programmer to download.
  • There also must be no deliberate confusion of the code.
  • Derived works from the original software must be distributed under the same terms as the licence of the original software.
  • The licence must allow software that was created from the original source code to be distributed.
  • The licence must not discriminate against any person, groups or restrict anyone from using it in any form.
  • The rights of the program must apply to all who use it without additional licenses.
  • The licence must not be specific to a product, must not restrict other software and must be technology neutral.

Some open source software includes Moodle, imgSeek, Blender, DVD Flick, Mozilla Firefox, Pidgin, RSSOwl, VLC, GIMP and OpenOffice.org to name a few.
Advantages of open source software are that a bug can be easily fixed and instantly re-distributed instead of users having to wait for a new release. The biggest appeal for open source software is, it is free.

Links and References

Mission | Open Source Initiative. Available at: http://www.opensource.org/ [Accessed November 13, 2010].
Open Source Definition - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_Source_Definition [Accessed November 13, 2010].
What is open source software? - Definition from Whatis.com. Available at: http://searchenterpriselinux.techtarget.com/definition/open-source-software [Accessed November 13, 2010].
Open Source Windows - Free Windows software, all open-source, all Windows XP and Vista. Available at: http://www.opensourcewindows.org/ [Accessed November 13, 2010].
Advantages Disadvantages Of Open Source - Open/Closed source networking. Available at: http://timjimnetworktech.wikidot.com/advantages-disadvantages-of-open-source [Accessed November 13, 2010].
List of free and open source software packages - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Available at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_free_and_open_source_software_packages [Accessed November 13, 2010].

By Pamela Hanratty