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FOSS: Free and Open Source Software

Jun 02, 2010, 14:34 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Bruce Byfield)

[ Thanks to James Maguire for this link. ]

"FOSS is an abbreviation for Free and Open Source Software. In other words, FOSS is software whose source code is openly available. People can install and even modify FOSS as they please, so long as they follow a few basic requirements listed in the license. This arrangement makes FOSS the opposite of proprietary software, and one of the most original developments in the history of IT.

"FOSS is a combination of two terms, free software and open source. Both free software and open source refer to software that is licensed in the same way, but the separate terms imply a difference in the reasons for the licensing.

"For most free software supporters, the licensing is a way to ensure software freedom, or the ability of users to control their computers and their contents. By contrast, for most open source supporters, the licensing is a way to improve the quality of software. The open source argument is that, because the source code is available, bugs will be more easily discovered -- or, as Eric S. Raymond put it, "with enough eyes, all bugs are shallow.""

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