Open-source software

A screenshot of Manjaro running the Cinnamon desktop environment, Firefox accessing Wikipedia which uses MediaWiki, LibreOffice Writer, Vim, GNOME Calculator, VLC and Nemo file manager, all of which are open-source software

Open source software (OSS) refers to software projects that are redistributable, with all source code being made available. Similarly, modifications and derived works are allowed and distributable.[1]

Though open-source software has many similarities to free software, open-source software focuses on the logic of publicly available software creating as much innovation as possible, while the free software movement sees publicly available software as a moral right, creating philosophical differences, though both movements support publicly available software.[1] Because of their similarities, some refer to their projects with both terms; free and open source (FOSS) or free/libre open source (F/LOSS, FLOSS).[1] Whichever the case, because of their respective philosophical focuses, it is generally expected to refer to projects as the creator has labeled them.[1]

The strength of open source software is its community, involving a range of roles from contributors to users. Because open source software is generally made up of voluntary contributions, open source projects differ from proprietary software in their organization, membership, leadership, contribution policies, and quality control.[2] This allows for lower barriers to participation, but also removes the monetary incentive to finish projects.[2] However, there are also some disadvantages.[1] For example, due to being made up of voluntary contributions there may be members who are unhelpful or have agendas that influence their contributions.[1] These issues may be true of any voluntary community and the majority greatly outnumbers the minority of unpleasant participants.[1] Some other issues may be licensing difficulties, disordered projects, language barriers, poor communication, or abandoned projects.[1]

For the consumer, open source software offers and opportunity to share, modify, improve software within the licensing limitations or to enjoy the software others have altered.[1] For society, open source software offers software that can be tailored to the needs of many industries and institutions around the world, including governments, allowing for greater economic development.[3][4][5]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i Brasseur, V. M. (2018). Forge your future with open source: build your skills, build your network, build the future of technology. The pragmatic programmers. Raleigh, North Carolina: The Pragmatic Bookshelf. ISBN 978-1-68050-301-2.
  2. ^ a b Androutsellis-Theotokis, Stephanos (2010). "Open Source Software: A Survey from 10,000 Feet". Foundations and Trends in Technology, Information and Operations Management. 4 (3–4): 187–347. doi:10.1561/0200000026. ISSN 1571-9545.
  3. ^ Bretthauer, David (2001). "Open Source Software: A History". Information Technology and Libraries. 21 (1).
  4. ^ Wynants, M., & Cornelis, J. (Eds.). (2005). How open is the future? : Economic, social and cultural scenarios inspired by free and open-source software. ASP.
  5. ^ Pannier, Alice (2022). Software Power: The Economic and Geopolitical Implications of Open Source Software. Études de l’Ifri. ISBN 9791037306418.

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