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March 15, 2017

What is open source software?

Fact or fiction, open source software is free. Find out below.

By James Nunns

Open source software is computer software that has had the source code made available.

Open source software (OSS) has grown in popularity as a way for businesses to avoid vendor lock-in and to develop in a more collaborative way.

The increased interest in open source software (OSS) has resulted in numerous vendors supporting this method of development, including proprietary driven businesses.

OSS basically refers to software that is developed, tested, or improved through public collaboration. Its distribution is based on the idea that it must be shared with others so that it can be worked on openly by a broad community of developers.

This open collaboration is achieved by making the source code of computer software available with a license in which the copyright holder provides the rights to study, change, and distributed the software to anyone and for any purpose.

OSS originated in the context of computer software development but now the term open source typically related to a set of values which ensures the open exchange and collaboration of community development.

The source code is a part of software which programmers can manipulate in order to change parts of the program so that it better suits their needs.

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What’s the open source software alternative?

The alternative to OSS is software which cannot be modified by anyone but the person, team, or organisation that created it, this is called proprietary software or closed source software.

OSS does not mean that it is free to use, that is a common misconception. Programmers can charge money for the OSS that they create or to which they contribute. Often charges are based on software services and support rather than charging for the software itself.

Numerous organisations have appeared around particular OSS projects such as the Apache Software Foundation. The creators of the Apache web server, also support technologies around Hadoop with projects such as Apache Spark, Apache Kafka, and more.

The Linux Foundation is another prominent organisation, this supports the development of Linux.

Advantages of OSS include lower costs of marketing and it helps businesses to keep up to date with technological developments, in addition to aiding with greater market penetration.

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