Monday, October 19, 2009

Lesson 01 : Linux History continued

Open source software:

Software whose source code is freely available to all is known as open source software ( OSS ). The purpose of OSS is to encourage collaborative work, often through broad participation in software projects across business and geographical boundaries.

Two main groups that promote the benefits of OSS define it in different ways. The Open Source Initiative (OSI) defines OSS as having the following features:

  • The software and source code must be freely distributable
  • All users must be able to modify the source code and create derived works
  • To maintain the integrity of the original author’s work, the license may require that modifications to the code be provided in patch form
  • The license has to be inherited, so that those who receive a distribution are subject to the identical terms
  • The license must be nondiscriminatory with respect to persons, groups, or fields of endeavor; it must be free of restrictions that can limit the license. For example, it may not require that the software be a part of a particular distribution; it must not restrict other non-OSS software and it may not require the use of technology to apply the license.
See for specific terms.
An alternative definition of open source software comes from the free software movement, which emphasizes the ethical aspects of software and source code availability. As presented by the GNU Project and the Free Software Foundation at, software is free if it satisfies four freedoms:

  • The software must be freely executable for any purpose
  • The source code must be available so that others can study how it works
  • The software must be freely redistributable
  • All users must be free to modify the software

Still other licenses, such as the Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD) license, enforce other interpretations of open source. For example, the BSD license does not enforce inheritance, meaning that BSD-licensed software may be incorporated into closed-source projects.


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