DEFINITIONOpen source describes practices in production and development that promote access to the end product’s source materials—typically, their source code allowing users to create user-generated software content.
When any projects source code is free, open and rights to alter are called free and open source
HistoryThe “open source” label came out of a strategy session held at Palo Alto, California, in reaction to Netscape’s January 1998 announcement of a source code release for Navigator. The group of individuals at the session included Christine Peterson who suggested “open source” and also included Todd Anderson, Larry Augustin, Jon Hall, Sam Ockman, and Eric S. Raymond. They used the opportunity before the release of Navigator’s source code to free themselves of the ideological and confrontational connotations of the term free software. Netscape listened and released their code as open source under the name of Mozilla.
Open ContentOpen Source’ is sometimes used to describe content. This is arguable; no open source licenses are used; rather, Open Content licenses are used. Such content is properly called ‘Open Content’ or ‘Free Content’, as applicable.
FLOSSCritics have said that the term “open source” fosters an ambiguity of a different kind, in that it confuses the mere availability of the source with the freedom to use, modify, and redistribute it. Developers have used the term Free/Open-Source Software (FOSS), or Free/Libre/Open-Source Software (FLOSS), consequently, to describe open-source software that is freely available and free of charge.
TechnologyOpen source software— 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. Open source code evolves through community cooperation. These communities are composed of individual programmers as well as very large companies.
Examples of open-source software products are:Eclipse – software framework for “rich-client applications”
Apache – HTTP web server
Tomcat web server – web container
Blender – 3D graphics application
Moodle – course management system
Mozilla Firefox – web browser
Mozilla Thunderbird – e-mail client
OpenOffice.org – office suite
OpenSolaris – Unix Operating System from Sun Microsystems
GovernmentOpen source government— primarily refers to use of open source software technologies in traditional government organizations and government operations such as voting.
Open source politics — is a term used to describe a political process that uses Internet technologies such as blogs, email and polling to provide for a rapid feedback mechanism between political organizations and their supporters. There is also an alternative conception of the term which relates to the development of public policy under a set of rules and processes similar to the Open Source Software movement.
Open source governance — is similar to open source politics, but it applies more to the democratic process and promotes the freedom of information.