Open Source software are applications produced under a Creative Commons License. Freely available to access and use, with the freedom to be altered, modified or enhanced by the global public. If you'd like more information on what Creative Commons is, please see the Creative Commons tab for extra information.
Open Source software has no propriety license. No one “owns” this software, it is not under copyright.
Not only free to access and use by the public, Open Source software allows users to view its “source code”. Viewing the foundation of code that makes the system or application work, allows the code to be assessed, understood, changed and manipulated by others. Developers can add, alter or remove code in the program. Subsequently, this changes how an application works, looks or behaves.
Some very basic examples:
Google Chrome is developed and owned by Google, extensions are developed by Google.
Mozilla Firefox is Open Source and add ons have been developed by users.
Please find a list of free open source software to consider in the next tab.
Open Source can also be applied to learning material such as databases, journal or scholarly publications (JSTOR, Project MUSE), data repositories (arXiv), courses, learning software and applications and is also known as Open Access.
Open Source was built on a philosophy that acknowledges the need for free data, information and the freedom and ability to learn, create, access material and tools. The same philosophy applies to most Open Access databases. Open Source enables people from all backgrounds to use, share, and learn from its programs. Every human has the right to be able to learn and access software. Most documents are written in Word but not everyone may be able to afford Office software. This doesn’t mean this personal doesn have a right to access or produce material in a compatible format.
Developers can choose to learn by simply viewing code, but manipulating code can take things forward another step. One may choose to inject malicious code, in order to exploit a programs weaknesses. One the program has been affected, one can then find avenues to fix or “patch” these problems.
Additionally, Open Source Software allows for the source code to be viewable by the public. Essentially, this means it can be verified, allowing us to confirm that there is no malicious intent behind an application. That the application isn’t secretly storing or sending sensitive data.
Have you noticed some corporate owned applications are slow or slow down your computer? They’re often using hidden scripts to send data and information. These take up computer pricessing power. A lot of Open Software is built for functionality.
I created the Libguide “Why you need Open Source: Digital tools, software and open access learning”. This is to guide anyone who needs access to reliable free software, data management tools, information data tools, editing tools, data sets, and learning research materials. I have a passion for the philosophy behind free learning and free accessibility. I believe that information and learning should be accessible to all humans. I acknowledge that most people cannot afford to pay or subscribe for every software or learning need. I also acknowledge that Open Source software stands beyond meaning of simply being free to access. Understandably, there are many free “apps” on phones and tablets, but Open Source is a subject area beyond simply being free to use. I am passionate about the right and need for privacy and public and peer verification.