Aka: Open Source Software.
Software that has its source code freely available to view and modify. Different licenses, like the GPL, exist to allow varying levels of modification, be it for personal or commercial use. The open source community can update products continually, so users don't have to wait as long for new features. Some advocate the use of open source software so that business may reduce legal risk from piracy and copyright infringement. Open source software has a grassroots DIY appeal, since it is easy to get involved
Open-source software is at the heart of the Linux and BSD worlds, allowing developers to freely trade and modify each other's work but it is also increasingly used by traditionally closed-source companies such as Microsoft and Apple, although restricted by different licenses.
"Open source" and "Free Software" definitions emphasize different rationals and the terms must be used with care. Open source is defined officially by the Open Source Definition. There is also an open source wiki called Open Source Pedia.
Popular Examples of Open Source Software
- EMule - file sharing client
- GNU/Linux - the rapidly developing Windows and proprietary UNIX alternative
- Mozilla - a cross-platform web browser with a steadily increasing speed and feature list
- Open Office - a free suite of common office applications
- Apache - the most popular Web server in the world
- Perl - secure and fast cross-platform Web server programming language
- PHP - a popular database-interpreter language
- Mono - .NET framework
There are thousands and thousands of open-source programs available for free online, for use by individuals on their own hardware and operating system. Open-source products are often available for no cost to the user. Benefiting all individuals, and posing a threat to businesses that base their revenue models on controlling their users, open-source is claimed by some, particularly Microsoft surrogates, as a communist cancer attacking intellectual property.
"Open Source" is a marketing name for Free Software, coined in Feb 1998 as an attempt to overcome the confusion over the word "free" in the English language. Open source refers to the fact that the source code of Free Software is open to and for the world to take, to modify and to reuse. The precise meaning of Free Software - an important distinction - is spelled out in the Debian Free Software Guidelines or the GNU Free Software Definition.
- SourceForge - Freely hosts a great number of open-source projects
- BerliOS Developer
- Gnuwin.org Precompiled, ported open-source apps for Windows
- GNA! - savannah clone
- MozDev - mozilla based applications and bugzilla infrastructure
There is a section just for Archives which also includes open-source projects.
- Open Source Software Goes to Work (pcworld)
- The Usability of Open Source Software - by David M. Nichols and Michael B. Twidale
- The Institutional Design of Open Source Programming: Implications for Addressing Complex Public Policy and Management Problems - by Charles M. Schweik and Andrei Semenov
- LinuxFund.org - (FAQ) - LinuxFund grants scholarships to university students who show promise as Open Source developers as well as issues development grants for projects which may not be suitable for commercial or volunteer efforts but which will enhance the long-term vitality of the Open Source.
- AsianOSC - A wiki which promotes open source and free software in Asia.
- Oekonux email list that is exploring the wider application of open source principles into society.
- CSharp-Source.Net - Directory of open source software written in C#
- Jamie Zawinski's sobering look at how the open-source Mozilla project tripped and fell back in 1998, in his opinion. The project has improved significantly since then and continues to make gains but other ambitious open-source projects could learn a lot from his words on the subject.
- The Open Source Applications Foundation -- and they have a Wiki
- TheOpenCD - A collection of high quality open-source software on compact disc.
- Java-Source.Net - Directory of Java Open Source Software
- Manageability.org - A Collection of Collections of interesting Open Source projects written in Java
- Seven open source business strategies for competitive advantage - Open source ain't anti-commercial.
- Openwares.Org - A apparent scam that takes open source software and bundles it with software that shows advertisments. Don't download from here. The front page claims they do not do spyware but instead add open source NSIS uninstall software. Users are advised in all cases to just download OSS software from their respective sites, not from a 3rd party such as openwares or other Web sites.