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Engineering LibreTexts

01-A.2: Open Source Software

  • Page ID
    26778
  • The term open source refers to something people can modify and share because it's design is publicly accessible.

    The term originated in the context of software development to designate a specific approach to creating computer programs. Today, however, "open source" designates a broader set of values—what we call "the open source way." Open source projects, products, or initiatives embrace and celebrate principles of open exchange, collaborative participation, rapid prototyping, transparency, meritocracy, and community-oriented development.

    What is open source software?

    Open source software is software with source code that anyone can inspect, modify, and enhance.

    "Source code" is the part of software that most computer users don't ever see; it's the code computer programmers can manipulate to change how a piece of software—a "program" or "application"—works. Programmers who have access to a computer program's source code can improve that program by adding features to it or fixing parts that don't always work correctly.

    Derived from: "What is open source?" by David Both is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

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