Easy to understand Open Source Software

Objectives :

After the completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

-learn concept, history and criteria of open source software.

-understand about a need of a license to use open source software.

-learn the commercial software and free software

Open source software is the software that the code is available for all users to inspect, modify, copy and use in almost any way they choose. For example unit, apache, wordpress, Appache HTTP and firefox.

Though the open source sofrware needs some kind of license that makes source code legally available to the users but typically software is considered open source if:

a. Users can view the code that comprises the software and make any kind of change to it they want.

b. Anyone can take the source code and distribute their own program from it.

The opposite of open source software is closed source software. Closed source software is also known as proprietary software. Users can not access and modify the closed source software.

The commercial software like Windows, MsWord, MsExcel, McAfee antivirus etc. are the example of closed software.

History of open source Software

In 1950’s decade operating systems were free. The operating system were delivered as a part of the hardware purchase without separate fees. The software used to be openly shared. A share user group was found in 1955. The group used to collect and distribute free software. The ” SHARE Program Library Agency” [SPLA] distributed information and software. The magnetic taps was used as a medium.

In early 1980s DECUS( Digital Equipment Computer Users’ Society ) tapes came for transmission of free software for users of DEC( Digital Equipment Corporation ) equipment. In eighty’s decade people used the operating system but there used to be some annoying like fixing the printer ot other peripheral devices because the code of the software used to be closed. This hit a person called Richard Stallmen.

In 1983, Richard Stallman Launched the GUN ( GUN’s Not UNIX ) Project to write a complete operating system free from constraints on use of its source code. Particular incidents that motivated this include a case where an annoying printer couldnot be fixed because the source code was withheld from users. Stallman also published the GNU Manifesto in 1985 to outline the GNU Project’s purpose and explain the importance of free software.

The credit goes to Richard Stallman because he had developed the first open Source Software in 1984. This software could be changed easily according to user’s choice. Users were free to modify, change and even share the source codes. To do all these things, users need a license agreement.

See the result of XII/ XI

Open Source Software Criteria

To use the open Source software users have to fulfoll certain criteria. A global nonprofit foundation called Open Source Initiative (OSI) was established in 1998. This organization is leading the authosity of open source software. The organization has given ten criteria to use the open source software. They are as follows:

1.Free Redistribution

Open source software can be distributed easily with software. The license shall not require a royalty or other fee for such sale.

2. source Code

Source codes can be included with the software.

3. Derived Works

The license must allow modifications and derived works, and must allow them to be distributed under the same terms as the license of the original software.

4. Integrity of the Author’s Source Code

The license only allows users to distribute the program source code which the user had changed, not of the whole program.

5. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups

The license must not discriminate against any person or group of persons.

6. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor

The license allows the program to use in field like any business of in genetic research.

7. Distribution of License

The rights of the license should be transfer with the distribution without any need for execution of an additional license by those parties.

8. License Must Not Be Specific to a Product

The license should not be specific for a certain product only. If the program is extracted from that distribution and used or distributed within the terms of the program’s license, all parties to whom the program is redistributed should have the same rights as those that are granted in conjunction with the original software.

9. License Must Not Restrict Other Software

The license must not place restrictions on other software that is distributed along with the licensed software . For example, the license must not insist that all other programs distributed on the same medium must be open-source software.

10. License Must Be Technology_Neutral

No provision of the license may be based on any individual technology or style of interface.

Open Source Software

Open Source Software License

Open source license are legal and binding contracts between the users and author for a software compinent. The license declares that the software can be used in commercial applications under specified conditions.

Open source license states clearly what a user is permitted to do with the software components.

According to the Black Duck Knowledge base, a database of some two million open source projects, five of the most popular license are:

  • MIT License (MIT- Massachusetts Institude of Technology)
  • GNU General Public License (GLP) 2.0
  • Apache License 2.0
  • GNU General Public License (GPL) 3.0
  • BSD (Berkeley Software Distribution ) License 2.

Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer.

  1. Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright notice.
  2. Redistributions in binary from must reproduce the above copyright notice.
  3. Neither the name of the copyright holder nor the names of its contributors may be used to endorse ot promote products derived from this software without specific prior written permission. When you change the source code, OSS requires the inclusion of what you altered as well as your methods. The software created after code modifications may or may not be made available for free.

Commercial Software

Commercial software are not free software, they are proprietary software. Commercial software do not give access to the source code. It is under intellectual property right law. They are priduced for sale or that serves commercial purposes.

Free Software

Free software means not free in price but you are free to run the program, free to copy, free to download and study the material, free to change the code, free to improve the software and distribute.

There is one word called freeware. Freeware means no cost. You can down

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