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What is Open Source?
From Anna Taylor: August 2018

Open Source (OS) refers to any program that makes its source code available for other developers to use or modify according to their own specifications, this may include fixing bugs or improving functions. Open Source Software (OSS) is generally developed as a public partnership and made available for free. OS is certified by the Open Source Initiative (OSI) and they are developers of software that is to be freely shared and can be modified and then redistributed for use by others who can also use the OS trademark if they distribute their product according to the distribution terms of the OSI's definition.

These distribution terms are as follows: The software must be redistributed without any restrictions; the source code must be freely available in order for another party to modify it and may require improved versions to have a different name or version from the original. There are various licenses that will allow programmers to change and modify software with conditions attached. The OSI will approve licenses that act in accordance with their definition of OSS. If the source code is modified the OSS will require developers to include the changes and the method used. The modified software may then be redistributed for free or at a cost.

Commercial Software and OSS

The difference between commercial or proprietary software and OSS is that the former does not allow access to the source code while OSS is shared and belongs to all who have developed and modified it. Free software is similar in that it includes the code modification by specifying what users can do with the software. Software can also be classified as freeware which allows users to download the software for free, but are not able to modify the source code.

Advantages of OSS

One of the main advantages of OSS is that it is cost effective and you don't need to win big with live AFL betting in order to utilize the available resources. OSS also produces good quality software as the source code is modified and changed as it is passed around. It can also be seen as a learning opportunity for software programmers as they can learn new skills and then apply them to programs today. OSS is considered more secure than commercial software as glitches and bugs are constantly being identified and fixed. Because OSS is available to everyone there is little chance of it ever being unavailable, which is useful for programmers who are busy with long-term projects and who will need these tools to complete the project. A large majority of the OSS is free, but there may be costs incurred in the form of subscriptions or support fees.

The internet was established largely by OS technologies and many programs such as Android and Apple OS are based on open source technologies. Well-known OS software includes Firefox browser, Thunderbird (email), PHP (scripting language for web development), Python (programme language), Apache HTTP (web server) and database system (creating and managing databases).

There are numerous OS projects which can be an alternative to commercial software. Many software developers will choose to work on an OSS project in order to learn the necessary skills to make a career in software development. Programmers can also improve their programming skills by collaborating on large OSS programs and programs such as LinkedIn and social media sites like Facebook are released as OSS which enables programmers to share their knowledge and try new things and make a contribution to these products.

 


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