Open Source Software (OSS) is computer software whose developers make its source code available and open to modifications. Open Source Software has a license—the GNU General Public License—in which the copyright holder provides the rights to study, change, and distribute the software to anyone and for any purpose.
Open source software is often developed in a public, collaborative manner, and is one of the most prominent examples of open source development. Open source is a development method for software that harnesses the power of process transparency and peer review.
The Open Source Initiative (OSI) is a global non-profit that supports and promotes the open source movement. Among other things, OSI maintains the Open Source Definition, as well as a list of licenses that comply with that definition.
The biggest benefit of open source software is that it’s free to download and own. Secondly, it is also compatible with most proprietary software and is highly efficient.
Open source software also creates a favorable market for consumers who benefit from the innovation and competition that it brings to the industry.
Why is that so important? Well, if we left all our software needs up to for-profit companies, we would not have choices or alternatives. By having groups of developers who are seeking to create alternatives, we create an environment of collaboration and innovation for no other reason than to benefit the end user.
Also, since the developers are often trying to create products for their own needs, their vested interest in the use of the actual product manifests itself in a quality product. Basically, if they can’t use their own software, then what’s the purpose, right?
Aside from innovation, open source software also brings options and competition to the market, and doesn’t allow one software or application to dominate the market. This ultimately is important for consumers, who have to pay and use the products. When you choose to use open source software, you are supporting open markets.