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Open Source Definition, Software, Editors, Projects and Licenses

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Open Source Software Definition - What is?

Open source stands for software whose source code is available freely to everyone.

It can, therefore, be modified and redistributed by virtually any of the end-users. It is special computer software with its source code being made available under license and the holder of the copyright to that software give the end-user the complete freedom and right to distribute, change and study the software as he pleases.

Most of the apps or programs downloaded on Android mobile devices are open-source programs.

As a result,  you can transfer the apps from one android device to another. This is unlike the closed-source apps available iOS, which you cannot transfer easily. 

Development

The development of open-source software can be in collaboration with the public, which makes the open-source software a good example of open collaboration. You can obtain a diverse perspective from open source software development beyond that of any single company.

According to a Standish Group report released in 2008, the adoption of open-source software models has led to the saving of up to $60 billion per annum for end-users of open-source software. The open-source software has some similarities with the free software. And it is a part of a far broader term of open-source and free software.

Advantages of open source 

  • No commitment: Closed-source codes will require a licensing commitment of about a few months. It will assure you that you will not end up paying for any system that you will end up not using or you do not like. There is also no time commitment and you can use the software any time you like and for as long as you like. You can equally stop using the software any time you like without ever bothering about any limitation whatsoever.
  • Easily customizable: You can easily customize the open-source software any way you like. In fact, open-source codes are made available to be rebuilt, tinkered with and also torn apart the way you like. You can get your team of developers to transform the code to virtually anything that you like. 
  • It is usually free: In most cases, you will never have to pay a dime to use the open-source code. Even if you have to pay, you will only pay a very small or insignificant amount of money. The open-source code is usually free, while you will only have to pay if you need high-level support or you want to benefit from a regular update of the software. The support and update on some open source codes may even be provided for free. While you may have to pay for updates, you will never have to pay a dime for the source code itself. It helps you to save on licensing fees and you can also modify the code to suit your needs. 

Are there disadvantages?

While open source has so many advantages, it also has some disadvantages that you should take note of. Some of the disadvantages are below:

  • The functions are fewer than those of closed-source codes. You may, therefore, not like the open-source code if you want all the bells and whistles to be present in the software. 
  • You will also experience limited support on the code since most open source developers do not provide free support. 
  • There is the possibility of a never-ending "fixing" by the development team since they may have to keep on tweaking the open-source code if they are unable to find a perfect working code that can meet your specific needs.   

Open-source software licensing 

Any time an author contribute to any open-source project, such action is under a license. If the project in question is Apaache.org, for example, the license for the project will be Apache Contributor License Agreement. Be that as it may, not all open source projects take contributed code under a license. Only a joint assignment of the copyright from the author is required in such a situation. To make it easy to accept the code contributed to that particular project. Good examples of a free software license or open-source licenses are below:

  • Mozilla Public License
  • Eclipse Public License 
  • MIT License 
  • GNU Lesser General Public License 
  • GNU General Public License
  • BSD license 
  • Apache License 

Open source license has proliferated expressly over the years and this is a negative aspect of the open-source movement since it is usually difficult to properly understand all the legal implications of various types of licenses. There are over 180,000 open source licenses out there today and over 1400 of these licenses are unique.

There has been a dramatic increase also in the complexity in the decision process about the management of the use of open-source within the "closed-source" commercial enterprises.

Some of them are modeled. While some other ones are home-grown. The modeled ones are made in line with the mainstream FOSS licenses, good examples of which are below:

  • Berkeley Software Distribution Apache
  • GNU General Public License      
  • MIT-Style (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)

Consequent of the above, many practitioners of open-source projects begin to adopt classification schemes for grouping FOSS license.

The open-source/ free software movement recorded a very important milestone in 2008. US federal appeals court  confirm that free software licenses can set conditions that are legally binding on the use of works that has copyright.

 

Open source PDF editor

The open-source PDF editor is very easy to use and share with other users, just like every other form of the open-source document. The open-source PDF editor can modify document outlines. It can also add, modify and delete rubber stamps. Furthermore, the software can also modify annotation comments, as well as, add text annotations. What is more, the software is reliable as a highlighting tool and can also modify document security. 

Furthermore, the open-source PDF editor can save optimized documents and also  insert images. All the contents of the open-source software can be easily shared among interested end-users without any restriction whatsoever. If you need to modify document pages, the process can also be easier when you use an open-source tool, which can also be used for easy extraction of document pages. 

It is easier to merge PDF documents when you use open source tools compared to when you use closed-source PDF software. Inserting or modifying text in a PDF file also becomes easier when an open-source PDF is used.

Those who need to modify or insert attachment annotations can equally do so using an open-source PDF. If you want to delete, modify to insert any document image, you can also get it done easily with the help of open-source software. The tool also makes it easier to delete, modify or insert vector drawing including paths, lines and curves. The benefits are simply endless. 

 

Open source Images

Open source images stand for images that are either under creative commons or available in the public domain. As a result, such images can easily be for virtually any purpose since their use, distribution, editing, modification or even deletion do not carry any limitation whatsoever.

The free images come with licenses, but the licenses give the end-user the freedom to use the image as he likes. Despite the freedom of modifying or distributing open-source images, those images that are under Creative Commons still carry some limitations that every end-user must be aware of. These limitations are below:

  • CCA: You must give credit to the original owner of the image each time you distribute it to a third party. 
  • CCA+NC: You must give credit to the original owner; at the same time, you are free to use the image for any purpose not commercial. This means you can't sell the images. Also you cannot use them to advertise your commercial products or services on your page or any other website for that matter. 

Be that as it may, it is possible to use under Creative Common images for commercial purpose, however, if you pay for the images. The payment accords you the full right to use the image as you like without any restriction or penalty whatsoever.

After paying for the images, you will never need to give credit to the original owner or link back to the source of the image. If you are not paying, however, and you want to use the images for free, it is imperative to link back to the source of the image. If you are using multiple images for free, then you must link back to the source for each image; this is in your best interest. 

At the same time,  you can use some open source images without linking back to the source of the image. You will also not need to ask for permission to use the image most times. You can use these  images on your website free of charge without you committing copyright infringement. However, you must first confirm if it is an open-source image before you use it.  

 

Open source CRM

CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management. Open source CRM, on the other hand, is a CRM system that makes use of open-source programs with the source code being available in the public domain. So that the end-users can easily and freely modify or use the system as they deem fit without any hindrance, rule or limitation.

Anyone interested can download the source code and even modify it as he pleases. You are also free to distribute the source code, either as the original copy or as the modified form.

The open-source code converts from its simple form into something complex  varying complex applications by tweaking the code to satisfy your needs. Such tweaking will never attract any penalty since it is an open-source CRM code.

Many CRM developers usually depend on open-source libraries. Open-source CRMs are of different types, however. 

  • Some of them are 100% open source.
  • Some other ones are hybrids of private codes and open-source codes. 

  

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