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Open Source Concepts

Open source doesn't just mean access to the source code. The distribution terms of open-source software must comply with the following criteria

  • 1. Free Redistribution
  • 2. Source Code
  • 3. Derived Works
  • 4. Integrity of The Author's Source Code
  • 5. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups
  • 6. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor
  • 7. Distribution of License
  • 8. License Must Not Be Specific to a Product
  • 9. License Must Not Restrict Other Software
  • 10. License Must Be Technology-Neutral


GNU - The Free Software Definition

  • The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).
  • The freedom to study how the program works, and change it so it does your computing as you wish (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
  • The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).
  • The freedom to distribute copies of your modified versions to others (freedom 3). By doing this you can give the whole community a chance to benefit from your changes. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

The free software definition presents the criteria for whether a particular software program qualifies as free software. From time to time we revise this definition, to clarify it or to resolve questions about subtle issues. See the History section below for a list of changes that affect the definition of free software.

“Free software” means software that respects users' freedom and community. Roughly, the users have the freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. With these freedoms, the users (both individually and collectively) control the program and what it does for them.

Thus, “free software” is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of “free” as in “free speech,” not as in “free beer”.

List of licenses nicely formatted by GitHub