Your simple introduction to what free and open source software means

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A different take on the meaning of just “open source” as a concept.

What Is Open Source?

Minimal Answer

Software code publicly available under an OSD-compliant license.

Practical Answer

Software products where the source code is available under a well-understood copyright license that allows users to inspect, use, and redistribute that source code, including modifications, all without cost - as noted in the OSD.. That means you can both use the software to do things, as well as building new software that includes that open source software - even for sale, if you wish. The OSI keeps a list of licenses that are OSD-compliant.

Process/Community Answer

Philosophical Answer

What Is Not Open Source?

Proprietary software - where the source code is not available, or where there are restrictive licenses or fees around use of either products or the code itself.

Source-available software - where the source is available to view, but is restricted by license from modifications or redistribution.

Similar - Near Open Source

What About Free Software?

Software that is publicly available that uses a license on the OSI list.

What is Open Development?

An open source software project where development - code check ins, making a roadmap, discussing bugs reported and how to fix them - is done on openly accessible and archived locations, like mailing list or Github.

What is Open Governance?

An open development style software project where contributors can eventually earn the right to help control the future of the project, perhaps by being elected or appointed to the project management committee or technical board.

What is Free Software?

Software that is publicly available that uses a license on the FSF list that preserves the Four Freedoms. It often, but not always, overlaps with open source licenses. FOSS means Free and Open Source Software.

Where can I go to understand more about open source?

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