(copied from wikipedia)
m (Protected "Open source" ([move=sysop] (indefinite)))
Latest revision as of 13:10, 4 March 2012
Open source describes practices in production and development that promote access to the end product's source materials; typically, (in software) their source code. Some consider it as a philosophy, and others consider it as a pragmatic methodology. Before open source became widely adopted, developers and producers used a variety of phrases to describe the concept; the term open source gained popularity with the rise of the Internet and its enabling of diverse production models, communication paths, and interactive communities. Subsequently, open source software became the most prominent face of open source.
The open source model can allow for the concurrent use of different agendas and approaches in production, in contrast with more centralized models of development such as those typically used in commercial software companies. "Open source" as applied to culture defines a culture in which fixations are made generally available. Participants in such a culture are able to modify those products and redistribute them back into the community.
In addition to software code, open source and open content projects such as those organized by the Wikimedia Foundation include sites such as Wikipedia and Wiktionary, use the open-content Gnu Free Document License (or "GFDL" for short) and Creative Commons content licenses. These licenses were designed to adhere to principles similar to various open-source software development licenses. Many of these licenses ensure that content remains free for re-use, that source documents are made readily available to interested parties, and that changes to content are accepted easily back into the system. Some have noted that the Wikipedia editorial process is similar to the bazaar-style development process described in Eric Raymond's essay, The Cathedral and the Bazaar. Another site embracing open source-like ideals is Project Gutenberg: it posts many books on which the copyright has expired and are thus in the Public Domain which ensures that anyone can use that content for any purpose whatsoever.