Sunday 6 April 2014

The human knowledge belongs to the world.

Open Source Initiative Logo
My HP Pavilion dv6 Notebook PC comes bundled with Windows 7 Home Premium 64-bit Operating System and do not give me the right to modify and share a copy with anyone. Isn't it frustrating? These proprietary software like Windows7, Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop - to name a few, comes with a restriction that you are only allowed to "use" it and that too on a single system.

Would you love the scenario where you have the access to source code and you have the right to share it with anyone in your neighborhood, modify it according to your need if you know how to code and most of all, it is freely available? That's open source. The concept has grown ever since Richard Stallman launched the GNU Project in 1983.

What does Open Source means? 

The complete definition of Open Source can be found on Open Source Initiative website. The two important and most interesting part of an Open Source software is

Availability of Source Code. The program must include the source code and must allow distribution in source code as well as compiled form.You have complete access to the code in which the program is written and you can change it according to your need and preferences. This allows different manufacturers to deploy any software with no/little changes to it.

Free Distribution. The software is not only freely available but also do not restrict anyone from selling or giving away the software as a component of an aggregate software distribution containing programs from several different sources. In layman terms, you can download a copy of an Open Source software for free and share it with anyone. So, you wake up someday, make hundred copies of your Ubuntu OS and distribute it in your city. No one's going to file a lawsuit against you. 

Free Software and Open Source Software.

Basically, Free Softwares and Open Source Softwares are two different terms for the same thing. The set of rules are almost same for both of these. 

Free software is reflected in the term Free Software Foundation (FSF), founded in 1985 to promote and protect free software while Open Source was was coined in 1998 by a group of people from Open Source Initiatives (OSI) who also supported distribution and development of free softwares.

So where's the difference? The Open Source Initiatives people mainly disagreed with the FSF about how to promote the free softwares and felt that software distribution was rather a practical matter and not philosophical. 

Another reason for the term Open Source was the ambiguity of use of the term "free". It may refer to a complete freedom of using and distributing the software or can only be limited to monetary freedom. 

The word 'open' also symbolizes the availability of source code which cannot be predicted in free software.

You can read more about Open Source on .

Open Source Initiatives Website-

OSI Affiliates [as on March 30th, 2012]
OSI Affiliates [as on March 30th, 2012]

And Lastly - What's the title all about.

The human knowledge belongs to world - a line from the movie "Antitrust".


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