Everything you must know about Open Source Software

Why Open Source?

What is open source software?

Open source software is software distributed under a license that allows its use, modification and redistribution. As its name implies, the main requirement for an application to be considered under this category is that the source code is available. This allows studying the operation of the program and making modifications in order to improve it and / or adapt it to a specific purpose.


Open source software has been developed for years, using different licenses. Each of them has particular characteristics, however, to be considered as open source licenses they must meet the following requirements:

  • Free redistribution of software must be allowed.
  • The source code must be available.
  • Modification of software and creation of derived programs should be allowed.
  • The integrity of the original program must be guaranteed. This can be done by requiring that the distribution of any modification be done separately, or that any modification or derived program be distributed with a different name or version.
  • No person or group of people should be discriminated against.
  • The use of the software for any purpose must be allowed.
  • The license must be distributed together with the software.
  • The license should apply equally to all who use the program.
  • The license must always be the same, regardless of whether the software is included within a specific distribution or package.The license should not apply restrictions on other programs.
  • The license must be technologically neutral.

Advantages of open source software

Using open source software brings multiple advantages for its users, be they people or companies. Some of these advantages are:

  • The availability of the source code makes it possible for users, programmers and companies to get involved in the development of applications. In this way, the error detection and correction process is carried out efficiently, as well as the implementation of new features.
  • It is possible to carry out modifications to the programs in order to adapt them to the specific needs of a company.
  • With open source software there is no money spent on purchasing licenses, but rather an investment in staff training.
  • Using open source software does not depend on a specific company for maintenance, but can hire anyone with the necessary skill and knowledge.


Open Source

Open Source or Open Source refers to the source code of the software that is openly accessible and that can be changed and distributed by anyone. The open source initiative stipulates ten requirements for open source software licenses.

The beginning

The source code of a software is made public: anyone can read it, develop the software itself and copy it. The software can be used or distributed by anyone for free. No additional license is required at any time. Open source software is therefore an alternative to commercial paid software.


Some well-known examples of open source software are LibreOffice and OpenOffice for document creation, the GIMP image processing program and Audacity, with which you can edit audio data. The Eclipse development environment and the Ubuntu operating system are also open source software. Other open source programs are OpenOffice and Bootstrap.


A great advantage for users (individuals or companies) is that you do not have to pay license fees. You also don’t depend on a provider. There are many other benefits on the developer pages. Because the code is read by many independent developers, any abuse of the software would be immediately apparent. Any part of the software that contains malicious code will be quickly discovered, making open source software very safe.

Even small errors in the software can be corrected very quickly, as many independent programmers can point each other to errors and discuss problems together. Furthermore, users can tailor a program to their needs. You could simply extend the code and expand the software with your own function.


Users cannot rely on the fact that open source software will develop (quickly), since projects have few financial resources. Support is another major drawback. Developers work on projects on a voluntary basis and therefore only in their spare time.

Therefore, there is no developer company that offers ongoing support, and people who can provide support rarely have the time to do so. One solution is Internet forums and companies that do not develop the software, but specialize in its support. They earn their money with professional support for free software.

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Not all open source software will be of the same quality. There are big differences and there is not an open source option available in all areas. However, many programs are already able to keep up with the competition and have integrated into the world of work. The Open Usability project strives to make open source software easier to use, and therefore increase its quality.

Open Source vs. Free software

“Open source” and “free software” are essentially the same. The term “free software” is older (1985) and comes from the Free Software Foundation. The Open Source Initiative launched the term “open source” in 1998 .The idea of ​​open access software is the same, only that the motivation behind it is different. In open source, it is the practical benefit derived from the joint development of software. The concept of free software is based on the ideology that sustains and benefit for users.