Open Source


Open source describes the practice that provides free access in production and development to the source materials (the source) of the end product.

Before the term open source came into general use, there were a wide variety of expressions to describe the concept. Its current popularity is partly due to the increasing use of the Internet, the enabling of diverse production models, ways of communicating and interactive communities. The best-known form is open source software.

The open source model allows different calendars and production approaches to be used simultaneously, unlike the more centralized development models typically used for proprietary software. The collaborating developers can work quite independently, without too much central control. End products and the underlying basic materials (for example designs, descriptive documentation and the like) are freely available to the public.

Computer software

Open source software is software whose source code has been published and is freely available to the public, allowing anyone to freely copy, modify, and redistribute it without any charges for copyrights and surcharges. Open source code development is done through joint collaboration of individual programmers as well as large companies.

Some examples of opensource software:


A free and open-source web browser developed by the Mozilla Foundation.


A free and open-source office software suite that includes word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, databases, and more.



A free and open-source operating system based on Debian that comes with a graphical interface and lots of free software.


Thunderbird is a free and open-source email client developed by the Mozilla Foundation, with features such as spam filtering, calendar integration, and more.

Round cube

A free and open-source webmail client that can be installed on a web server, with features such as search, drag-and-drop, and more.


A free and open-source email client available for Windows, Mac, and Linux, with features such as multiple account support and a simple interface.


Zimbra is a free and open-source email suite that includes features such as email, calendar, contacts, and more, and can be installed on a local server or in the cloud. Online webmail uses Zimbra as their e-mail client.


ProtonWebMail is an open-source email service that provides end-to-end encryption for user privacy and security. The source code of ProtonMail's web client and mobile apps is available on GitHub for public review and contributions. ProtonMail's servers are not open-source, but the company provides a transparency report that details government requests and other security-related information.


A free and open-source email client and personal information manager for Linux, with features such as email, calendar, contacts, and more.

VLC Media Player

A free and open-source media player that can play almost any type of audio and video file.


GIMP is a free and open-source image editing program that can be used for tasks such as retouching photos, creating images, and more.


A popular programming language that is free and open-source and used for various applications, including web development, scientific computation, and data analysis.


A free and open-source content management system (CMS) that allows users to easily create and manage websites.


A free and open-source audio editor that allows users to record, edit and mix audio.


An open-source software development version control system that allows developers to collaborate on projects.


An open-source JavaScript runtime built on Google's V8 JavaScript engine and used for server-side web development.


An open-source web server widely used for hosting websites and web applications.


An open-source 3D modeling and animation software, suitable for creating animations, visual effects, games and more.


An open-source vector image editor, suitable for creating logos, icons, illustrations and more.


An open-source relational database management system, known for its stability, reliability, and support for advanced SQL features.


MySQL is an open-source relational database management system. It is developed and maintained by Oracle Corporation and is available under the GNU General Public License. It is one of the most popular databases in the world and is used by many websites and applications.

Computer hardware

Open source hardware is hardware whose design specifications, usually in a software format, have been published and are available to the public, allowing anyone to freely copy, change and distribute the hardware and source specifications. Open source hardware development is done through joint collaboration of individual programmers as well as large companies. Examples of open source hardware are:

  • Sun Microsystems OpenSPARC T1 Multicore Processor. Released under GPL.
  • Arduino, a microcontroller platform for hobbyists, artists and designers.
  • RepRap, a 3D printer.


The "open source" label was created during a strategy session in Palo Alto, California, in response to Netscape's January 1998 announcement that Navigator's source code would be released. Session members, Christine Peterson, Todd Anderson, Larry Augustin, Jon Hall, SAM Ockman, and Eric Raymond, suggested using the term "open source" for this release to describe the ideological and confusing connotations of the term free software. to prevent. Ultimately, the open source license was transferred to the Mozilla Foundation.

The term became more widely known at the "Freeware summit", a meeting organized by Tim O'Reilly in April 1998. At this meeting, the issues with the term free software were discussed with participants in the then running free and open source projects. including Linus Torvalds, Larry Wall, Brian Behlendorf, Eric Allman, Guido van Rossum (Python), Michael Tiemann, Paul Vixie, Jamie Zawinski of Netscape and Eric Raymond. Tiemann suggested as an alternative the name "sourceware" and Raymond the name "open source". The issue was put to a vote and the results followed at a press conference in the evening. The meeting was afterwards referred to as the "Open Source summit".

This culmination can generally be seen as the birth of the open source movement, but earlier scientists with access to ARPANET used a process called Request For Comments, which was similar to open standards, to develop the telecommunications network protocols. This collaborative process led to the birth of the Internet in 1969. Another early use of open source was in the 1950s, when IBM began distributing its operating system with source code and the SHARE user group was formed to exchange source code.

The Open Source Initiative was founded in 1998 by Eric Raymond and Bruce Perens to promote the benefits of open source in the commercial market. This project was partly a response to the free software movement, which Raymond and Perens saw as too ideological. Bruce Perens used Debian's Free Software Guidelines to create the Open Source Definition.

The term 'open source' is somewhat ambiguous because it could also be used to make the source code accessible to a limited audience, without the code being allowed to be reused or modified.

Applications outside of software development

Software isn't the only area affected by open source. The idea has been applied in more areas.

Eric Raymond and other founders of the open source movement have made a number of public attempts to slow down speculation about applications outside of software, arguing that the strong case for open source software should not be weakened by discussions of areas where the method would be less attractive.

The open source movement has been the source of inspiration for greater transparency and freedom in other areas. Examples include the release of biotechnology research by CAMBIA and the development of Wikipedia. The idea of ​​open source has also been applied to media outside of computer programs, for example by Creative Commons. It is also an example of user innovation (see for example the book Democratizing Innovation). Often times, open source is a simple expression for a system that is freely available to anyone who wants to work on it.