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Open-source (or, being alternatively spelt, open source; originally known as open source software or by its acronym OSS; also known as free and open source; hereinafter, the OSS) is software with its source code made freely available. Literally, open-source is an adjective or adjective-based noun derived from open-source software that denotes software for which its source code may be redistributed and modified, most often, under some open-source license.

It is believed that about 88% of those enterprises that use any software, use one or more the OSS projects. Reportedly, 94% of the users would like to contribute back to the OSS development; however, only 16% actually contribute.


Since the Software is always distributed without any license or maintenance fee, the Software always comes at some costs usually associated with services related to the OSS' evaluation, installation, integration, customization, functioning, extensions, and, security. Besides those services, key developers of the OSS may ask about voluntary donations or use freemium models.

Although all the OSS is free, not all free software is the OSS. Some owners of proprietary software distribute it at no cost, but don't make its source code publicly available. For instance, Alphabet Inc distributes its both Google Chrome and Google Chromium as free web browsers, but only Google Chromium is the OSS.


OSS projects vary, but their advocates usually mention one or more of the following reasons for using those:

  1. Helpful community;
  2. Popularity with developers in general;
  3. Maturity of the solution;
  4. An open-source license;
  5. Community guidelines;
  6. Reading potentially helpful use cases online;
  7. Frequent activity.


  1. Rarely, the users of the OSS have any formal policy for selecting, integrating, and maintaining the OSS;
  2. The biggest challenges of adopting open source were unclear documentation, lack of documentation, and the lack of external resources (such as tutorials or presentations on third-party sites);
  3. With regard to its cyber-security, the OSS tends to be more vulnerable simply because its hackers have complete access to its source code. On the other side, patches tend to be developed faster because of bigger sizes of development communities, so open-source security management plays a critical role.

Implementation practices

  1. Build the competence: solve real problems, make it easy to use, and find a community of passionate users;
  2. Maintain the project like a garden, which needs constant tending such as updating and bug-handling and weed control such as establishing and supervising of community guidelines.

Key packages

See also

Related lectures