Open Source By Chanocohen

The Open Source Definition
Open source doesn't just mean access to the source code. The distribution terms of open-source software must comply with the following criteria:

1. Free Redistribution
The license shall not restrict any party from selling or giving away the software as a component of an aggregate software distribution containing programs from several different sources. The license shall not require a royalty or other fee for such sale.

2. Source Code
The program must include source code, and must allow distribution in source code as well as compiled form. Where some form of a product is not distributed with source code, there must be a well-publicized means of obtaining the source code for no more than a reasonable reproduction cost preferably, downloading via the Internet without charge. The source code must be the preferred form in which a programmer would modify the program. Deliberately obfuscated source code is not allowed. Intermediate forms such as the output of a preprocessor or translator are not allowed.

3. Derived Works
The license must allow modifications and derived works, and must allow them to be distributed under the same terms as the license of the original software.

4. Integrity of The Author's Source Code
The license may restrict source-code from being distributed in modified form only if the license allows the distribution of "patch files" with the source code for the purpose of modifying the program at build time. The license must explicitly permit distribution of software built from modified source code. The license may require derived works to carry a different name or version number from the original software.

5. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups
The license must not discriminate against any person or group of persons.

6. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor
The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the program in a specific field of endeavor. For example, it may not restrict the program from being used in a business, or from being used for genetic research.

7. Distribution of License
The rights attached to the program must apply to all to whom the program is redistributed without the need for execution of an additional license by those parties.

8. License Must Not Be Specific to a Product
The rights attached to the program must not depend on the program's being part of a particular software distribution. If the program is extracted from that distribution and used or distributed within the terms of the program's license, all parties to whom the program is redistributed should have the same rights as those that are granted in conjunction with the original software distribution.

9. License Must Not Restrict Other Software
The license must not place restrictions on other software that is distributed along with the licensed software. For example, the license must not insist that all other programs distributed on the same medium must be open-source software.

10. License Must Be Technology-Neutral
No provision of the license may be predicated on any individual technology or style of interface.


Open source is a development method for software that harnesses the power of distributed peer review and transparency of process. The promise of open source is better quality, higher reliability, more flexibility, lower cost, and an end to predatory vendor lock-in.

One of our most important activities is as a standards body, maintaining the Open Source Definition for the good of the community. The Open Source Initiative Approved License trademark and program creates a nexus of trust around which developers, users, corporations and governments can organize open-source cooperation.

Open source began as, and for the most part still is, software created by a community of people who are dedicated to working together in a highly collaborative and evolutionary way.
Open Source vs. Commercial Software:
The most important difference between software created by the open source communities and commercial software sold by vedors is that open source software is published under licenses that ensure that the source code is avaiable to everyone to inspect, change, download, and explore as they wish. This is the essential meaning of open source: the source codethe language in which the software is written and the key to understanding how the software workscan be obtained and improved by anyone with the right skills.

More precise definitions extend this basic concept by adding provisions concerning derivative works, the rights to use the software for any purpose, the rights of the original author, and prohibitions against discrimination.

How Open Source Software Is Developed
For those new to the idea of open source or unfamiliar with the way software gets developed, here's how it works most of the time:

One or more developersmeaning people who have the skills to create softwareget an idea about creating software to solve a problem.

-The developers start writing code to create a solution. This is frequently called "scratching an itch."

-The developers put this code where other developers can find out about it, download it, and play with it. There are many locations, such as, where people post their projects.

-Usually the source code is published under one of several popular open source licenses that ensure that the source code and any derivative works remain open source.

-Through an informal process of sharing ideas, fiddling with each others' code, and trial and error, the software gets better and better, sometimes changing direction to solve new problems as new people discover the software.

-At some point, the software gets finished or doesn't. It becomes popular, stays obscure, or fades away. Programs like Linux and Apache have had thousands of contributors. Other projects have been created by one or two people.

-As time goes on, developers come and go, and projects become active or dormant.

-A huge amount of amazing software has been created through this loose process. While much of open source development has focused on creating tools for software developers, an increasing amount of effort is being put into creating programs to solve less technical problems like publishing blogs or keeping track of skydiving activity.

Differing Definitions:
While this explanation is sufficient for most purposes, such a simple answer is really no longer accurate. The right answer today depends on your perspective. To really understand the question What is open source? in a complete and useful way, we must know who is asking the question. For example, if we asked Linus Torvalds, Richard Stallman, or Bill Gates, we might get very different answers. Here's what open source means to a variety of different groups.

Users of software:
For users of software who have the skills to download and install software, open source means choice and freedom.

The choice comes from the huge amount of programs available. Some programs like Firefox (the smoking-hot browser from or (a suite of word processing, spreadsheet, and related programs) can be downloaded and used by just about anybody. Other open source projects such as Babeldoc or Axkit are mostly useful for software developers.

None of this open source software costs money. Some programs charge subscriptions for support, updates, documentation, or premium versions, but most of those are usable without paying a fee.

The freedom comes from the fact that the source code is available. If you want to change something, then you can, if you have the right skills. Only a handful of the people who download and use open source ever actually change it. Most use it as intended, but they have the freedom to modify it if they want.

Developers and Engineers:
For developers and engineers, open source has many additional meanings. To those who found a successful project, open source can mean fame, recognition, and sometimes even money from consulting or other sources.

Other developers see in open source a masterful software development methodology founded on the virtues of collaboration, incremental evolution, and working code.

For most developers, open source is a both a source of tools to help solve problems and a constant source of exciting new things to learn.


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