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open source software


n. ~ Computer code that is developed and refined through public collaboration and distributed without charge but with the requirement that modifications must be distributed at no charge to promote further development.


Open source software is often distributed under terms of the General Public License to ensure collaboration.

(OSI website) 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. ¶ 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.
(Rivlin 2003, p. 154) Linux . . . was created by coders abiding by the open source credo: Do what you wish to improve a product, charge for it if you like, but share the underlying source code you added.

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