Open Source Software Versus Closed Source Software

Topics: Source code, Free software, Open source Pages: 4 (1623 words) Published: October 29, 2008
In the beginning there was closed source software and it was good for a while. What is closed source software exactly? Closed source software is the idea that no one can view yet alone change the source code of the software. Source code is the building blocks of software. On the other hand, there is open source software. There are three certain rights that people have with open source software. These rights are: “The right to make copies of the program and distribute those copies, the right to have access to the software’s source code, and the right to make improvements to the program.” (Behlendorf 172) These rights are the foundation of open source. The rights of open source software do not apply to closed source software. Mainly, these rights do not apply because one does not have access to the source code of closed source software. When one purchases closed source software, she is only buying a license to use the software. She is not purchasing the program itself, which is why she will not receive the source code. Open source software is also called free software. But, many are confused by what free software means. Does free mean freedom or free beer? In the case of open source software it means freedom. One is free to do with the software as he wishes. He can change how the software works and/or install the software on as many computers as he wants. It is possible to obtain open source software at no cost to the consumer. “Although it is possible for you to deploy Linux without paying licensing fees, this does not mean that Linux, or any operating system, is ‘free’ in the sense that there are no costs…” (Fink 8) Since one can copy open source software to multiple computer with only paying for, if at all, the software once, this is a much less cost than closed software where one has to purchase a license to use the software for each and every computer that is running that software. Open source software is better than closed source software....
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