Open Source Software - definition and myths

What exactly is the meaning of Open Source Software? In layman terms, does it only mean, free software? And can Open Source Software be patented? Why is it important to support Open Source Tools/Platforms over other seemingly better options?


Open source software is software that is released under a license that allows anyone to access, use, modify, and distribute the software for any purpose. While many open source software programs are free of charge, this is not always the case. The key characteristic of open source software is that the source code is available to anyone, which allows for collaboration and transparency in its development. (This contrasts with proprietary software, where the source code is not available and the software is typically only distributed by the company that owns it.)

Open source software can be patented, although it is not always the case. In some cases, open source software may be covered by patents held by the developers or organizations involved in its creation. However, the open source nature of the software means that these patents are often licensed in a way that allows others to use the software without infringing on the patents. (Many open source licenses include provisions that explicitly prohibit the use of patents to restrict the use, modification, or distribution of the software.)

There are several reasons why it is important to support open source tools and platforms over other options. One reason is that open source software often has a large and active community of users and developers who contribute to the software, making it more reliable, robust, and up-to-date. This also means that there is often a wealth of documentation and support available for open source software, making it easier for users to get started and learn how to use the software.

It is important to support open source tools and platforms over other options because they promote collaboration and transparency in software development. Because the source code is publicly available, anyone can contribute to the development of open source software and make it better. This can lead to faster innovation and the creation of high-quality software that is more robust and secure. Additionally, because open source software is freely available, it can help to reduce barriers to access and promote equality in the use of technology.

inally, open source software can provide greater transparency and security. Because the source code is available for anyone to view and audit, open source software can be more transparent than proprietary software. This can also make it more secure, as potential security vulnerabilities are more likely to be discovered and fixed quickly by the community.