What is Open Source Software?

The worldwide community that creates open source software (OSS) puts open source software on the cutting edge of technology and delivers a high level of security since bugs and security holes can be quickly found and remedied. The following are examples of OSS, with personal interviews with the founders, co-founders, or designers.

Is it:

Open source software is software that can be freely used, changed, and shared (in modified or unmodified form) by anyone. Open source software is distributed under licenses that comply with the Open Source Definition, guaranteeing software freedom. Only software distributed with an OSI Approved Open Source License should be labeled open source software. – Patrick Masson OSI General Manager


OS Software makes its source code available so any developer can access and modify or improve the software. – Bill Wright, Board Member, LinuxFest Northwest


Open Source Software is one of the most important things that happened in the last 40 years, which has propelled industry growth in a way no other software model could have. – the Argentinian SysAdmin Community

my favorite is

Open source software is freely available, globally collaborative, tools created to help others without the expectation of personal gain. It is also opening the ‘source’ – i.e., opening the developer by getting them to adopt open behavior:

  • Willingness to share failures as well as successes
  • Adopting (open) community practices of development.
  • Getting developers to share code before it’s “ready”.
  • Teaching (pay it forward!), since we’re all in this together.

What do you think? :interrobang:

Click on the Screenshot 2022-08-16 at 12.10.33 to share your thoughts, ideas, resources, and experiences:

  • What is your most valuable Open Source Software?
  • Why is Open Source Software important?
  • What change will it bring / has it brought to (your country/region)?
  • How has using Open Source Software changed things for you, your students or colleagues?
  • What role do you see it playing in the future?

To get you started, below are some examples complied initially for the Year Of Open in 2017 accompanied by personal interviews with the founders, co-founders, or designers of these projects from around the world. Read their opinions on what exactly is Open Source Software here.

New to Open Education? :wave:

Curious to explore? Start here!

Hello @IslaHF

For me, the most valuable software which is “free as in freedom” (and therefore also open source) falls into several distinct buckets:

  1. First, the invisible software powering the infrastructure. The entire internet runs on open source: software running on routers, server operating systems, web servers,… It’s easy to take this for granted and forget about it. But without OSS (open source software) we couldn’t have the instructure we have today. And I appreciate this infrastructure very, very much because it enables me to live a life that was science fiction when I was a kid. – We’re living in the future, baby. And it’s all powered by open source.

  2. Development tools. I like to make stuff, for work and for fun. And very little programming today is writing things from scratch and most of work is about combining and integrating pieces of code written by others. It’s like playing with LEGO except there are millions of different pieces instead of hundreds and they don’t snap but need to be glued. Thanks to the countless projects that already exist, I can mix and remix, pick things apart reuse scraps instead of having to reinvent the wheel every time. This makes iteration incredibly fast, which leads to more experimentation and better outcomes.

  3. Daily use software. Dozens of my devices run Linux with hundreds of open source apps on top of it. While I still use proprietary commercial apps every day (and have many thousands of dollars on them over the years), I have a soft spot for apps I can customize for myself or localize / translate for my friends, pick them apart, and repurpose. Open source makes this possible. Availability of the source code can turn folks using the software from consumers into power users or creators.

Thanks for the response @jan – I love the personal insight into why OpenSource Software are so powerful and relevant to your world!

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