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What is Open Source Software?

Open Source software is released under a special license that allows users to install, use and change the programming design for free.

This innovative approach to software design and distribution rapidly found favor with users, web developers and associated corporations. It allows software to be designed and evolved in an uninhibited and potentially unlimited environment of ‘peer to peer’ development. This can reduce overall costs, improve flexibility and provide better quality, more user friendly software programs.

Open Source is not always completely free, and you may have to pay fees if you want to redistribute the software and although the majority of third party add-ons and extras are free you may have to pay for some of them.

Types

Open Source software (OSS) is also known as ‘free software’ (FS) and ‘free libre open source software’ (FLOSS) and although there are actually a few subtle differences mostly these are the same thing. Commercial Open Source Software (COSS) refers to when corporations release part of their software as Open Source, but keep the more advanced functionalities as commercial products that users will have to pay for to access and use. These are restricted to much more limited development and redistribution rules.

There are many different types of Open Source software programs available. This can include web designing and programming releases that allow webmasters to set up and run many different kinds of websites at very little cost, such as Community Forums (e.g. phpBB, MyBB, SMF), Blogs (e.g. WordPress, Drupal, Movable Type), eCommerce (e.g. Magento, osCommerce, Zen Cart) Online stores and much more.

Open Source Initiative

The Open Source Initiative (OSI) was originally set up to support and promote the Open Source movement and to facilitate communication and cooperation between designers, users, developers, corporations and government authorities. OSI is a non profit organization and acts as a standards body, overseeing the quality and reliability of Open Source software and ensuring it has a strong place in the future of web design and software programming.

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