open source software

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open source software

[¦ō·pən ‚sȯrs ′sȯf‚twer]
(computer science)
Software that is written in such a way that others are encouraged to freely redistribute it, and all changes to the code must be made freely available.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

open source

Software that is distributed with its source code so that end user organizations and vendors can modify it for their own purposes. Most open source licenses allow the software to be redistributed without restriction under the same terms of the license. For the complete, official definition of open source, visit For a list of approved open source licenses, visit

There are thousands of open source titles, and although used on most platforms, they are particularly common in the Linux/Unix world. Major examples are the Linux operating system, Apache Web server and JBoss application server. See Linux, Apache and JBoss.

Free and Paid
A great amount of open source software is available at no charge, and many open source projects are developed by a community of volunteers. However, there are commercial vendors that enhance open source software, provide technical support and charge a fee, the most notable example being the Linux operating system (see Linux distribution).

Fewer Bugs vs. Too Many Cooks
Open source proponents claim that the code in open source programs is continuously reviewed by new programmers, and bugs are weeded out more quickly. In addition, the wide variety of contributors leads to enhancements that might not otherwise be included. However, vendors of proprietary software counter by saying that having total control over the software is far superior; that the old saying "too many cooks spoil the broth" is especially true in software development.

Advantages of Open Source
The single major advantage is no licensing fees. A second advantage is flexibility. Users of open source software can modify the programs to fit their needs, and many companies use open source for this reason alone.

Another advantage is the ability to fast track a project. Since there is no contract to sign, IT departments can use the software without waiting for contractual negotiations to be completed.

Lastly, as long as there is one remaining, devoted contributor, the software will continue to be enhanced. In the world of proprietary, commercial software, a useful program that users may truly love is often abandoned when it no longer generates enough profit. For more information, visit and

The Free and Open Source Communities
In the late 1990s, open source software was derived from "free software," meaning free of restrictions and why the phrase "free and open source software" is often used. Whereas the "free software" movement promotes the user's freedom as an ethical issue, the philosophy of open source focuses on the practical benefits when users cooperate with each other. Nearly all open source software conforms to the free software movement, but there are occasional exceptions because the definition of free software is more strict (see free software). See open data, open data, Shared Source and open source hardware.

Open Source in Your Car
Open source applications are running everywhere today, even in your car. This open source license for Apache software is displayed in an aftermarket Kenwood head unit (radio, navigation, etc.). See head unit and Apache.
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References in periodicals archive ?
It would also be advisable to put in place procedures for keeping track of all instances of open source software within your organisation, with checks to ensure that the license conditions are adhered to.
--Identify the different types of open source software technology
To continue driving adoption of SDN, we need both high-quality open source software for the necessary but non-differentiating infrastructure as well as open standards and APIs.
Open source software accelerates progress in almost any development initiative, regardless of whether the results will be offered under a proprietary or open license.
Because of efforts like those at the Horowhenua Library Trust and PINES, libraries don't need to start from scratch to use and implement open source software. In fact, libraries around the world have been developing open source software for years.
Open source software typically is released through some sort of license agreement that imposes certain limitations on or obligations in connection with its use.
Small Indian banks are turning to open source software to cut costs.
William "Brad" Smith, Camp Shelby's commander, noted that the Open Source Unmanned Remote and Autonomous Vehicle fystems (OS-URAVS) is one of the first efforts to bring together unmanned vehicles technology with open source software.
Coverity introduced its monthly Coverity Scan Project Spotlights due to extraordinary demand for the annual Coverity Scan Report and the insight it provides into the state of open source software quality.
Open source software in life science research; practical solutions to common challenges in the pharmaceutical industry and beyond.
Therefore, an integrated open source software mineral resource management system (MRMS) is needed to be designed and developed such as 1) open source software (OSS) solutions purview almost all conceivable domains, and 2) contemporary OSS's have the characteristics and capabilities needed for an integrated software solution for the mineral sector.
Outlining the national program for free and open source software technology Abdurahman Al-Areefi, project manager, said NPFOSST is a KACST program that aims to encourage and promote the use of free and open source software (FOSS) within the community by establishing strong partnerships with multiple agents in the public and private sectors.

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