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Open Source Software

The simple fact is that the most popular applications that run the Internet are Open Source. But what is Open Source? Open Source Software is software whose source code is published and made available to the public, enabling anyone to copy, modify and redistribute the source code without paying royalties or fees. In fact most Open Source Software is free to download as well (free as in beer). Open Source code evolves through community cooperation, communities which are composed of individual programmers as well as very large companies.

The basic idea behind Open Source is very simple: When programmers can read, redistribute, and modify the source code for a piece of software, the software evolves. People improve it, people adapt it, people fix bugs. And this can happen at a speed that, if one is used to the slow pace of conventional software development, seems astonishing. In essence Open Source Software is free. (free as in free speak and freedom!)

We in the open source community have learned that this rapid evolutionary process produces better software than the traditional closed model, in which only a very few programmers can see the source and everybody else must blindly use an opaque block of bits.

Open Source Software is an idea whose time has finally come. For twenty years it has been building momentum in the technical cultures that built the Internet and the World Wide Web. Now it's breaking out into the commercial world, and that's changing all the rules. Are you ready?

"The future is open source everything.", Linus Torvalds (the primary inventor of Linux)

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Page last modified on February 04, 2009, at 11:26 AM