Tuesday, June 2, 2009

What, Why, & How to Open Source

Open Source describes a software license that ensures certain freedoms. There are 10 rules from the open source initiative

Open Source Software Analogies:
-free public schools (or OCW/iTunes) vs. pay as you go education
-free public libraries vs bookstores
-Wikipedia vs Britannica

Open Source in contrast to:
-Proprietary: commercial software that has restrictions on use, distribution, and modification.
-Freeware: There is no fee to use but you cannot study, modify, or redistribute.
-Shareware: Obtained free of charge for a certain amount of time then a payment is requested after the trial period.
-Public Domain: No laws restrict any use.

What kind of open are you looking for? Open examples besides software

-Freedom to modify the software to your own needs.  Harness collective intelligence for collective invention through collaboration with developers around the world that increase the quality of the software.
-Frees you from vendor lock in (incompatible data, forced updates, or license renewals)
-It's free and decreases barriers to access

Disadvantages of Open Source:
-Lack the time to learn the software.
-May lack software of help resources (manuals, documentations, or community support)
-Lack of support, even though the application is free you may need to have pay the right person to administer and/or support it

Why People use Open Source Software:
-Cost: Free or "pay people not licenses"
-Commitment to openness and community
-Intuitive design


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