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Open Source Software: About

#Linux #OpenSource


This LibGuide is for students pursuing a major in computer science, information technology, or those interested in Open Source Software and the Linux Operating System.

What does Open Source mean?

The term "open source" in the software development community means that the source code of a program is available to the public for use, distribution, and modification. Open source software and operating systems are free for users to download, install, share, and use. The transparency of the source code makes it so developers can openly collaborate on improving a program or modifying its existing code for a particular use. Developers of open source software will quote the dates of original contributions and provide a release list of updates for current and prospective users. A release list details all the iterations of the program - i.e. Version 1.0, Version 1.1, etc. Every release will have release notes detailing the updates from the last iteration.

Open source projects are opposite in purpose to proprietary projects, which most users are familiar with since they are commercially advertised and make up the bulk of the home computing market. Proprietary projects need to be purchased and companies keep the source code from users to avoid modification and distribution. There are pros and cons to both forms of project development.

Why use Open Source Software?

Users get to explore different programs that are free to use, and that are backed by creative communities. Developers work tirelessly to create software and the several updates needed to improve stability across different operating systems. Hundreds to thousands of hours are spent developing open source software by people across the globe. The developers contribute to the software for a variety of reasons. Open Source projects are like a coding potluck for developers. They depend on users that benefit from the program to give back to the community. That's why most of the programs have a webpage which accepts donations to the cause. These webpages also have links to several resources and community forums. The great thing about open source software is that you can familiarize yourself with customizable operating systems, software for video/audio editing, photo editing, podcasting/streaming, and much more, with no cost to you directly. Many of the open source programs have similar user interfaces and workflows to their commercial counterparts, and can help users improve their technical skills. 

Open Source Software Helpful Links

GitHub is a development platform inspired by the way you work. From open source to business, you can host and review code, manage projects, and build software alongside millions of other developers.

Open Source Initiative
The Open Source Initiative (OSI) is a non-profit corporation with global scope formed to educate about and advocate for the benefits of open source and to build bridges among different constituencies in the open source community.

A website with crowd-sourced open source software recommendations.


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Joshua Fernandez
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