Open Source software is perceived as a free alternative to commercial software because no per user or per computer charges are levied. There is now a wide range of Open Source software available including operating systems and applications which in some cases can offer similar functionality to commercial software with no licensing costs. In Part one this paper covers the background and clarifies the terms used in Open Source developments and in Part two, it documents current usage and identifies other factors which need to be considered before selecting an Open Source solution.
When you buy a computer system you are buying the hardware and licensing the software. The licensing terms control what actions can and cannot be performed and most software uses a licence designed to ensure that the creators of materials and resources are acknowledged and rewarded for their work. This gives rise to the standard practice of charging a royalty per user or per device using the software. Open Source software uses a different type of licence aimed at ensuring the software’s development and royalty free distribution
Open source - the source availability model used by free and open source software (FOSS) - and closed source are two approaches to the distribution of software.Under the closed source model source code is not released to the public. Close maintained by a team who produces their product in a compiled executable state, which is what the market is allowed access to. Microsoft, the owner and developer of Windows and Microsoft Office, along with other major software companies, have long been proponents of this business model. Although in August 2010, Microsoft interoperability general manager Jean Paoli said Microsoft "loves open source" and its anti-open source position was a mistake. The FOSS model allows for able users to view and modify a product's source code. Common advantages cited by proponents for having such a structure are expressed in terms of trust, acceptance, teamwork and quality. A non-free license is used to limit what free software movement advocates consider to be the essential freedoms.
A license, whether providing open source code or not, that does not stipulate the "four software freedoms", are not considered "free" by the free software movement. A closed source license is one that limits only the availability of the source code. By contrast a copyleft license claims to protect the "four software freedoms" by explicitly granting them and then explicitly prohibiting anyone to redistribute the package or reuse the code in it to make derivative works without including the same licensing clauses. Some licenses grant the four software freedoms but allow redistributors to remove them if they wish. Such licenses are sometimes called permissive software licenses.An example of such a license is the BSD license which allows derivative software to be distributed as non-free or closed source, as long as they give credit to the original designers.FOSS can and has been commercialized by companies such as Red Hat, IBM, Novell, Oracle, Mozilla Foundation, VMware and others.
The members of the independent software industry have led us into a time of change not seen by the world since the industrial revolution. The billions of dollars of investment they have made in the development of their technology never would have come about without protection of the fruits of their intellectual labors. At the same time, open source software is well established as part of the software ecosystem and affords software developers and users an important alternative style of software development and distribution. There is a need and a purpose for both.
In making decisions about whether to adopt open source software solutions or pay for commercial one in terms of not only its technical characteristics, but also in terms of the overall investment and total cost of ownership. It is also important to consider whether the use of an open source solution would meet the user’s needs with respect to operational compatibility with other programs and with respect to the user’s need to transact and interact with third parties in industries and markets in which commercial products are the de facto standard.
Finally, it is important to be aware that the open source movement is motivated not only to provide benefits to the software developer and user communities through the distribution of “free” software, but also to eliminate the need to use proprietary software. Through lobbying and other efforts, the open source movement has persuaded some companies and even some governments to adopt a bias toward open source products, and the GNU Project’s GPL and LGPL have raised many serious questions about the proprietary integrity of software developed in private enterprise.