Beyond the borders of sanity

What is open source?

We must ask ourselves this question. What is meant by the term open source? Is all free software ($0) considered open source? Why can’t we just call it free software then?

According to Wikipedia:

"The term open source describes practices in production and development that promote access to the end product's source materials. "

Meaning? Well it means that any piece of software that allows you to take a look at the source code, and use parts of it in your own software is considered open source. Makes sense. So apparently, open source has nothing to do with cost. You can have open source software which is free of charge, or worth a fortune. In order to elaborate, let us have a look at the following diagram:

open souce diagram

You’ll find many people refer to open source activists use the term “freedom”. This is often confused with freedom as in cost, although its not about that.

In order to clear the confusion, we put it this way:

“Free as in ‘free speech’ not ‘free beer’ “

Free speech as in the right to say whatever you want about whomever you wish. In software terminology, we say freedom to view the software’s source code, change it, and reuse it.

I hope this helps clarifies some of the aspects of open source. All above is my humble understandings of the subject. I hope to see you on the next blog post, until then.


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