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In: Computers and Technology

Submitted By pgon
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How would you feel if you could do absolutely anything you wanted to with your software and distribute it legally to as many people as you wanted? How would you feel if you could get a program for free or a fraction of the cost of applications like Adobe Photoshop, or Microsoft Office? This is possible with open-source software. The term "open-source" is defined to describe software, which is available to the public in source code form that does not have licensing restrictions, which limit use, modification, or redistribution. The etymology stems of the word "open" comes from the Proto-Germanic term "upana" which means "raised up." The word "source" comes from the Old French term "sourse" which means "to rise, or spring up." Teams of programmers scattered around the world typically develop open-source software, but universities, government agencies, and corporations like IBM also develop it. Why is open-source software good for consumers, corporations, and even students? Teachers and students have full access to the internals of the program, which allow them to find out how a program works and helps the learning process of programming in general. Corporations and home users don't have to wait for just one single company such as Microsoft to release updates or patches to broken software, instead a community of software developers provide fixes for open-source software a lot quicker than just one company. With the freedom from the restrictions of use, modification, and redistribution, open-source software has been proven to be scaleable, more reliable, more secure, and perform better than closed-source software. Exactly how did open-source software get started? In the 1970's, the success of proprietary operating systems, particularly UNIX, created frustration in the academic community, who could not use these systems for study or teaching. This situation motivated Richard Stallman to found the Free Software Foundation (www.fsf.org) in 1985

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