For today’s tech blog we’re going to discuss open source software. What is it, and how is it different from other types of software? In simple terms, open source software is a term for any program whose source code has been publicly released, allowing for others to modify it however they like.
It’s easiest to understand open source software in the context of other types of software, so here’s a refresher in the other major types.
Licensed software is any computer application that requires licensing to be used. This licensing can be as simple as purchasing a digital download code for a single computer, or it can be a complex, enterprise-wide licensing agreement. Nearly all licensed software must be purchased to be used legally. Microsoft Office has long been an example of licensed software.
Cloud or Subscription-Based Software
Technically a subset of licensed software, cloud or subscription-based software requires a recurring subscription-style payment. If your payment lapses, the software may become inoperable. Examples here include Adobe Creative Cloud and Microsoft’s newer offering, Office 365.
Freeware is a broad term for software that’s distributed freely, with no expectation of payment for personal use. Install these at home as much as you like. Beware that some freeware is only free for personal use, though. If you want to use it in a corporate setting, you may need a license.
Open Source Software
Open source software takes the concept of freeware to the next level. To be considered open source, both the software and its source code must be freely available. Users are permitted (and even encouraged) to modify the source code to improve the software or to customize it for their own needs.
Open source as discussed above is a concept or philosophy. Developers who wish to release open source software with a sort of seal of approval can do so through the Open Source Initiative. This group offers a certification mark, Open Source (yes, it’s just the term we’ve been discussing, but with capital letters), which verifies that a piece of software meets certain qualifications.
To receive the Open Source designation, a piece of software must meet these two criteria.
Additionally, provision is made so that the original creators can demand that future, customized versions of the software are clearly distinguished from the original, through naming or versioning.
By reading this tech blog post, you now understand what open source software is. If you’re wondering what it can do for your or your business, contact us today. We’re glad to help!
Thanks for helping us upgrade our Macs and get them working exactly as our business needs! Fast, convenient and very knowledgeable! You’re the best!
Alary Technologies has been our IT support team for the past year at the START Clinic for Mood and Anxiety Disorders. They have done a excellent job in upgrading our system, organization, and supporting us in technical computer matters. Compared to other IT companies we have worked with, Alary Technologies comes on top. Ahmed Kufaishi the Managing Director at Alary Technologies is solution focused, knowledgeable and makes an effort to really understand his clients’ needs. It has been a pleasure to work with Ahmed and Alary Technologies. I would recommend their services to other companies and clinics.
“We continue to work with Alary Technologies due to the fact that they are quite educated and knowledge based with current upgrades, and their commitment to their customers.”
Ahmed has been providing our company with expert IT services for close to 3 years. He has guided us through hardware upgrades, server back up procedures and was instrumental in brokering a custom software program that fully automated some key functions in our business. Ahmed has always been thoroughly professional in all his dealings with us and has provided consistent and sound advise for all of our IT requirements. We consider Ahmed and Alary Technologies to be an important partner for our business.
It is refreshing to work with someone who can organize things and describe in plain language. I have a large and growing knowledge base for my work as an architect. I have realized that I can’t do everything, that I do need a team member who can look after this one relatively small by crucial part of my practice.