Open Source Software

The DOS and Windows are the proprietary software of Microsoft. Then, we have thousands of Open source software (OSS). The OSS has its underlying ‘sourcecode’ made available under a license, so that the developers and users are allowed to adapt and improve it. Most popular licensing system is GNU General Public License (GNU GPl, or GPL). Under GNU GPL, the licensees may not ‘close’ versions. The licensee may modify copy and redistribute any derivative version, under the same GPl license. The licensee can either charge a fee for this service or work free of charge. Please note that Open source doesn’t just mean access to the source code. The distribution terms of open-source software must comply with the following criteria:

  1. Free Redistribution: No restriction on any party from selling or giving away the software as a component of an aggregate software distribution containing programs from several different sources.
  2. Source Code: The program must include source code, and must allow distribution in source code as well as compiled form.
  3. Derived Works: The license must allow modifications and derived works, and must allow them to be distributed under the same terms as the license of the original software.
  4. Integrity of The Author’s Source Code: The license may restrict source-code from being distributed in modified form only if the license allows the distribution of “patch files” with the source code for the purpose of modifying the program at build time. The license must explicitly permit distribution of software built from modified source code. The license may require derived works to carry a different name or version number from the original software.
  5. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups: The license must not discriminate against any person or group of persons.
  6. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor: The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the program in a specific field of endeavor. For example, it may not restrict the program from being used in a business, or from being used for genetic research.
  7. Distribution of License: The rights attached to the program must apply to all to whom the program is redistributed without the need for execution of an additional license by those parties.
  8. License Must Not Be Specific to a Product: The rights attached to the program must not depend on the program’s being part of a particular software distribution.
  9. License Must Not Restrict Other Software: The license must not place restrictions on other software that is distributed along with the licensed software.
  10. License Must Be Technology-Neutral: No provision of the license may be predicated on any individual technology or style of interface.

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