Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What Is Open Source Software?

Software is considered open source if it meets certain conditions or criteria. Among them:
– The software can be freely given away or sold.
– The source code must be included or freely obtainable.
– Redistribution of modifications must be allowed.

What is “source code”?
• When a piece of software is developed, a programmer writes it in a human‐readable language. The software in this form is called source code.
• Most software is distributed in a form computers can “understand”, sometimes called object code, and no source code is provided. This is called proprietary software.
• If no source code is provided, the software cannot be modified by the user.

Contrast This With Open Source Software (OSS)
• Source code is provided.
• So, OSS can be modified and maintained by the user.
• OSS is never a trade secret, because the source code is never secret, by definition.

We will be looking at two type of OSS:
• Library Specific, in this series of seminars an open source ILS called Evergreen.
• Other OSS applications that may be of use to libraries.

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