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Open-Source Software (OSS)

Definition - What does Open-Source Software (OSS) mean?

Open-source software (OSS) is software that is distributed with source code that may be read or modified by users.

The OSS community generally agrees that open-source software should meet the following criteria:

  • The program must be freely distributed
  • Source code must be included with the program
  • Anyone must be able to modify the source code
  • Modified versions of the source code may be redistributed

As well, an open-source software license must not require the exclusion of, or interfere with, the operation of other software.

Techopedia explains Open-Source Software (OSS)

Unlike traditional software distributed in an unchangeable compiled format, open-source software is delivered with both compiled and non-compiled formats, allowing open code modification. In traditional software licenses, this privilege would be reserved for copyright holders.

Not all software developers favor the use of open-source software, but many have accepted it because it allows for quicker repair of software issues and may ultimately lead to higher quality applications.

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