What does Open source and Free software means

There are lots of Myths and Confusion about open source and free software.
whenever we read the word “open source ” or “free software “,, one question comes in our mind that
Is open source really free or vice- versa ?
First we must understand what does free software means
the word “free ” has two meanings.
one is free software, or freeware that somebody creates and distributes unconditionally.
There are no license agreements.
The owner takes no responsibility of distributed softwares.

The other definition is created by FSF(free software foundation). In this definition, free doesn’t mean “no cost”.
It’s free as in freedom or liberty to run , modify , distribute or improve the software.
GNU software and GPLed software comes under this free software definition.
i.e. you have the right to run it for your own requirements , modify its source code according to your needs or requirements, distribute it for free or even sell it.

Then what is open source ?

This is same as free software of FSF , but it comes under OSI( open source initiative), which is another independent group that’s is involved in open-source community building and educating.

The most interesting thing is that both FSF and OSI are committed to achieving the same objective-that of giving everyone the right to run , modify , distribute software.

Can i sell open-source or free software ?

Both type of free software doesn’t put any restriction on commercialization.
These days “Dual licensing” is gained most popularity,which allow us to distribute two version of software :
one is free community distribution and another one is commercial package.

Where does Linux fit into all this ?

Linux was first made availabe in open-source world under the GNU general public license.
This OS(operating system) was distributed free along with the source code.
Now there are several version of Linux is available,such versions are called Linux distros.
Example of Linux distros are Redhat, SUSE,Cent OS , Debian etc.
The community version of Linux is Fedora and commercial version is RedHat Linux.

LInux is open -source doesn’t mean that vice-versa is also correct.Open source doesn’t really mean Linux.
Today many popular applications are available for Linux and windows both.
Example- Apache , perl , php , MySql , are just few well -known open -source apps
availabe for both Linux and Windows.

Hope this will clear most of doubts about Open source software. 🙂

thx ,,

Anand sharma


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