What is Open Source and Free Software?

Free software (See the official definition of free software) is a term invented in 1983 by Richard Stallman.

Open Source is a relatively new concept (from January 1998) which covers software released under several licenses, which have some specific common denominators, such as access to the source text.

Common to Free Software and Open Source is that it is a matter of freedom not price. To understand the concept, you can think of “free” as in “free speech” and not as in “free / free beer”.

Open Source licenses, roughly speaking, can be divided into 2 groups – copyleft licenses and non-copyleft licenses.

Free software includes ONLY copyleft licenses, as the main ideology behind Free software is that the software and software based on it should remain free (See the official definition of free software for elaboration).

Copyleft licenses cover licenses that require all software based on software released under this license to be released under the same license terms. These include the GPL license under which Linux is released.

Non-copyleft licenses cover licenses that do not require the software license based on software under this license. These include The BSD license under which operating systems such as FreeBSD, OpenBSD, etc. are released.

The Linux platform is expanding into the world market

Linux distributions traditionally have their most widespread use on servers , but are rapidly gaining ground on regular home computers and in the office.

There are many different Linux distributions. Several of the larger distributions also have a Danish installation program. If you use one of the common desktop environments such as GNOME, XFCE, Cinnamon, KDE and many others, you usually automatically have a complete Danish user interface, except for a few applications, which may not be translated. Note that many distributions mix free software with closed, proprietary software. However, some contain only free software and are called free distributions.

The fact that everyone has access to the source text helps to ensure the customer in several areas:

  • Supplier independence.
    • The product does not die with the supplier.
    • The product does not die due to the supplier’s new strategy.
    • The product does not die due to supplier purchases.
    • The product can be customized when the customer wants it.
    • The customer can correct what he thinks is wrong with the product.
    • The customer can use another supplier to maintain the product.
  • Quick fix for security and system critical errors.
    • The customer can correct the error himself.
    • Other customers also correct or try to correct the error.
    • Customers / developers exchange bug fixes.
    • On large Open Source projects, bugs are typically fixed within 24 hours.
  • The customer can determine for themselves what the product contains.
    • The source text can be crawled for hidden backdoors and the like.
    • Possible security vulnerabilities can be identified by code review.
    • Encryption algorithms can be tested for security against reverse engineering.
    • Removal of irrelevant features that just fill up (such as Easter eggs).

The fact that all successors must have the same license conditions ensures that all improvements benefit everyone. Most often, extensions, corrections and improvements are added to the original product, which then comes in a new and better version.

Development speeds are often very high on Open Source projects, as many all over the world can participate in the development via the internet. As a result, the development and support department on the large Open Source projects almost never sleeps, as there is usually someone working on the project.

How do companies make money on Linux? They offer something customers actually bother to buy, priced under free competition terms, such as support and expertise for companies such as. do not even have the money or the need to have permanent employees who have it.

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