Open Source Software….A Brief FAQ

Some complex topics are smooth, and A few smooth topics are complicated. This one is really both. So let’s begin with some of the fundamentals.

                                              A Brief FAQ


Software Download

What is the distinction between a “closed” Source and an “open” Source? While we communicate approximately “open Supply” Software, we’re usually speaking approximately Software this is certified for use, change, and distribution in a fundamentally distinct way than “closed” Source proprietary Software program. There are many unique flavors and nuances of both open and closed Source; however, let’s focus on one of each to apprehend the distinction:

Closed Supply proprietary: Microsoft Phrase….you are best permitted to use Phrase as set forth within the applicable Microsoft Software license (that you or your company paid Microsoft for), you aren’t given any get entry to the human-readable Source code of Microsoft Phrase, and also you are not accepted to copy or redistribute the Microsoft Word software to all and sundry.

Open Supply: Apache OpenOffice…the present-day model is available at no cost (in both systems readable item code and human-readable Source code) beneath the Apache License 2.0 (http://www.Apache.Org/licenses/ You’re authorized to use, alter and redistribute the code. The best regulations placed on you in the license are to duplicate the Apache License 2.0. You need to mark the documents you have modified, and you need to include the attribution notices in a report or display a part of the Software program. You are not required to make the Supply code available for your licensees downstream (i.E. you could distribute object code if you need it).


That Apache license appears to allow pretty a bit….How is it exceptional from a so-known as “copyleft” open Supply license?

Due to the fact, the Apache license has only a few restrictions (regarding marking and supplying the attribution notices), it is clearly called a “permissive” open Supply license (two different “permissive” open Supply licenses in frequent use are the BSD and MIT licenses). As the query suggests, there is a greater restrictive shape of open Source license (more restrictive within the experience of what it calls for of the person downstream) called a “copyleft” license (that’s a play on phrases from the closed Supply reliance on “copyright” to manipulate the consumer downstream). A “copyleft” open Source license usually allows the consumer to modify and distribute the open Source provided to them freely. However, it also requires that any in addition distribution (or propagation) of the changed open Source Ought to MAKE available THE MODIFIED OPEN Supply CODE AS part of YOUR DISTRIBUTION. The GNU Well-known Public License (the GPL) is the most extensively used of those “copyleft” open source licenses. Https://www.Gnu.Org/licenses/

So wait, if I use or regulate a “copyleft” open Supply program, I should make it to be had the authentic or changed Source code to anybody?

NO. That is one of the maximum frequently misunderstood nuances of open Source. You are free to apply or modify “copyleft” open Supply for your inner/private use. The requirement to provide the human-readable Supply code to others best applies to the quantity you distribute (or propagate that is made available) the “copyleft” code. The maximum common manner that this manifests itself is When a chunk of “copyleft” open Supply code is mixed right into a proprietary closed source software. Then the combined code is shipped to every other birthday party. With the aid of the phrases of the “copyleft” license requirements (once in a while called the freedom of dying provision), you most effective have the right to distribute the changed open Supply code in case you Follow THE COPYLEFT requirements (Consisting of MAKING THE modified Supply CODE to be had).

What if I don’t need to make my proprietary Source code to be had?

Then don’t integrate it with “copyleft” open Source code….this is the cleanest and simplest manner to avoid the “copyleft” necessities. As noted above, the “permissive” open Source licenses have requirements to meet, but the one’s requirements don’t make it bigger to requiring you to make to be had your Supply code. So that is typically the whole lot better choice for licensors who need to maintain a proprietary “closed” Source licensing shape downstream.

Timothy Washington
Hardcore internetaholic. Social media nerd. General writer. Freelance travel junkie. Music practitioner. Twitter guru. Alcohol maven. In 2008 I was writing about wooden trains for fun and profit. Earned praised for my work researching fatback in Los Angeles, CA. Spent 2001-2006 lecturing about walnuts in Cuba. Earned praise for analyzing tattoos on Wall Street. Uniquely-equipped for deploying wooden horses in Jacksonville, FL. Spent a year lecturing about tar in Salisbury, MD.