Opensource and Free Software Misconception

The terms “open source” and “Free software” are well known among the computer users. Most of people use these terms interchangeably as many of today’s “open source” softwares are available free of cost.

For example, sourceforge.net which is world largest repository of “open source” community software with over 180,000 projects organized under a wide range of different categories. This site having served over a period of about a decade mentions that it offers free “open free source” software. Such mixed use of these terms make them appear one and the same thing at least to the lay man.

“Open source” software term is said by Eric Raymond and its definition is maintained by non-profit corporation named OSI or “open source initiative”. The OSI is also considered as the bastion of what is called “open source movement” in comparison to the free software movement these two movements complement each other in certain ways. Sourceforge.net provide standards if any one wants to release software under OSI approved license. These standards are simply a collection of recommended best practices that a software should have to be labeled as open source. any software license to be termed as open source,it must give complete access to source code,no discrimination against the people or industry to used. Any one can use the term open source as it is not trade mark. this means any company can release its software and term or suggest it as open source. It might allow software author to restrict distribution of modified source code under certain conditions.

Due to these conditions, open source is termed as a software development methodology in which free source code is central theme for review and community participation for improvement of the software. And this does not mean that software itself is free.

The freedom to run the program means the freedom for any kind of person or organization to use it on any kind of computer system, for any kind of overall job and purpose, without being required to communicate about it with the developer or any other specific entity. In this freedom, it is the user’s purpose that matters, not the developer’s purpose; users are free to run the program, and if author distribute it to someone else, then person is free to run it for his purposes, but author is not entitled to impose his purposes.

The freedom to redistribute copies must include binary or executable forms of the program, as well as source code, for both modified and unmodified versions. (Distributing programs in run able form is necessary for conveniently installable free operating systems.) It is OK if there is no way to produce a binary or executable form for a certain program (since some languages don’t support that feature), but you must have the freedom to redistribute such forms should you find or develop a way to make them.

Free software stand for respecting user’s freedom where open source stands to promote a better software development approach against the property, and open source appeals business decision makers as they would not like to go issues surrounding free software. On the other hand,free software has nothing to do with marketing tactics as it considers property software a social problem.