Open source refers to any program whose source code is made available to anyone for inspection, modification or for improving upon.
It is a specific approach to create software programs.
It is typically developed as a public collaboration and is made available to the public free of charge.
Open Source is a certification mark owned by the Open Source scheme. Its objective is that developers of software that is aimed at free sharing or for further improvement can use the Open Source trademark if their distribution terms conform to the Open Source Initiative (OSI) definition.
The definition stipulates that:
- The software that is being distributed must be redistributed to anyone else without any constraint.
- The source code or the fundamental component of the software program must be made available without any restriction.
- The license can require enhanced versions of the software to bear an altered name or version from the original software.
The underlying difference between open source software and others types of software is that in the latter case only the authors of proprietary software can legally copy, inspect and modify that software.
However, users must accept the terms of the license when they use open source software. Nevertheless the legal requirements of open source are significantly different from those of proprietary licenses.
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