FOSS: Free and Open Source Software
Jun 02, 2010, 14:34 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Bruce Byfield)
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"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.""