Open Source

Open Source Definition From Wikipedia

The Open Source Definition is used by the Open Source Initiative to determine whether or not a software license can be considered open source. The definition was based on the Debian Free Software Guidelines, written and adapted primarily by Bruce Perens. (See also: open-source license.)

Under the Open Source Definition, licenses must meet ten conditions in order to be considered open source licenses (Note: this version contains unauthorized additions. There is a link to the original unmodified text below. It was taken under fair use).

1. Free Redistribution: the software can be freely given away or sold. (This was intended to expand sharing and use of the software on a legal basis.)
2. Source Code: the source code must either be included or freely obtainable. (Without source code, making changes or modifications can be impossible.)
3. Derived Works: redistribution of modifications must be allowed. (To allow legal sharing and to permit new features or repairs.)
4. Integrity of The Author's Source Code: licenses may require that modifications are redistributed only as patches.
5. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups: no-one can be locked out.
6. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor: commercial users cannot be excluded. (Back in the 1980s, some software which was given away had license terms that specifically prohibited the police or military of the Government of South Africa from using the program because of objections to apartheid. While this is a laudible goal, it's not relevant to include it in a software license. Beyond which, such organizations might simply ignore the restrictions anyway.)
7. Distribution of License: The rights attached to the program must apply to all to whom the program is redistributed without the need for execution of an additional license by those parties.
8. License Must Not Be Specific to a Product: the program cannot be licensed only as part of a larger distribution.
9. License Must Not Restrict Other Software: the license cannot insist that any other software it is distributed with must also be open source.
10. License Must Be Technology-Neutral: no click-wrap licenses or other medium-specific ways of accepting the license must be required.

Related to the Open Source Definition is the Free software definition by the Free Software Foundation, which attempts to capture what is required for a program license to qualify as being free-libre software. In practice, licenses which meet the open source definition almost always also meet the Free software definition. All licenses reported to meet the free software definition as of 2006 also meet the open source definition.




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