Beginner's Guide

What is Open Source Software?

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Quoting Linus Torvalds, In real open source, you have the right to control your own destiny, I am Akshay, and in this article, I’m going to talk about what is open source software, how the open source term was coined, and what’s makes a piece of software open source. Let’s start with What is Open Source?

Open Source Software are those whose source code is publicly available to everyone. Anyone can freely use it, modify it and redistribute it. Let’s understand each term individually. Source code A soul of any software is its code, most of the user never see the source code, they use the software. But behind every software there is a code, which is compiled, transpiled or interpreted by the browser. In open source software, this source is available in public domain so everybody can see what is written in the code. Let’s take an example of Food Dish. A food dish is a final thing you consume. But what is the soul of the dish? It is its recipe. If you make this recipe in public domain anybody can prepare that dish. Open Source is something like this. Now let’s see how an open source software can be freely Used, Modify, and Redistribute. [Using it] Since the source code is available in the public domain anybody can inspect the code and use it. Also, if you want to make any changes in the software you can also do that for example if you found any bug you can fix it and contribute back also you can implement new features in this way you can modify the software. The modified version of software can be redistributed, you have right to redistribute this modified version of software so this was all about how open source software can freely use, modify, and redistribute.

Now let’s talk about how open source term was coined. Initially the free Software world was widely used but there were some problem with this word. When any business hears this word, they thought the Software will be cheap, unusable and worthless software, and also they thought they couldn’t make money out of it. And this term was kind of confusing for newcomers as well. They assume the free word is referring to the Price and Money, but which was not the case.The Free words was referring to the freedom. So, this was an issue that needs to be addressed. On February 5, 1998, a group was assembled at VA Research and during this meeting Open Source termed was coined.The credit of inventing this term goes to Christine Peterson, and we are really thankful to her for this invaluable contribution.

Now let’s talk about, What makes a software open source? Just making source code available in the public domain doesn’t makes a software open source. The author have to give rights to users to freely use, modify and redistribute it. Now the question is, how author can do this? The answer is simple – By adding a open source license file in the source code. In brief, open source license allow software to be freely used, modified, and redistribute. There are various open source license available, like Apache, GNU, MIT etc. Like if you are having a driving license, you are legally allowed to drive in the respective nation. Similarly, if a source code have an open source license file, it will allow the user to freely use it, modify it and share it. So, this some brief about Open Source, if you would like to read an article on any open source topic, please let us know in the comments section. And if you like the article please give us a thumbs up & share this article with your friends. We would like to thank our generous sponsor for their kind support. Thank you so much everyone.

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