The opposite of proprietary software, OSS or Open Source Software is software that is published under a certain license. There are many different ones, but the main ones are the FSF and GPL, both of which designate programs that are made available to users in their entirety – that means including the source code that the software is made up of. Users are allowed to modify the software as they like and even redistribute their own versions.
Technipages Explains Open Source Software (OSS)
Software of this kind is often published either under the Free Software Foundation license or the General Public License. Anyone with the skills to do so can access the code that it is made up of. This allows them to study its inner workings and functions, and to make edits if they want to. These licenses also place a few restrictions on its users.
These restrictions relate to the redistribution of the software. Modified versions have to be made available under similar or the same license, and the source code has to be made available as well.
This is to prevent people from exploiting OSS for their own financial gain – OSS is supposed to facilitate collaboration and overall work towards the improvement of that software. That isn’t to say that all OSS software is always free. The majority is, but not all. An example of this is Nasa – they publish large amounts of software under the NASA Open Source Agreement, yet their work is not free.
Common Uses of Open Source Software (OSS)
- Open Source Software makes its source code available to interested parties.
- Open-source software development can bring in diverse perspectives beyond those of a single company.
- OSS is responsible for programs like Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird.
Common Misuses of Open Source Software (OSS)
- Open Source Software is created by the Open Software Foundation.