Open Source Initative
The Open Source Definition (OSD)
The GNU Project (MIT)
The Cathedral and the Bazaar
What is Open Source?
Open source refers to both a method of development as well as to the underlying source code. One of the most commonly used definitions of open source is: “a development method for software that harnesses the power of distributed peer review and transparency process” (courtesy of the Open Source Initiative (OSI), the stewards of the Open Source Definition (OSD) and the community-recognized body for reviewing and approving open source licenses). The most well-known attributes of open source are:
- The source code is made available
- Its license allows for free redistribution
Brief History of Open Source
The open source movement began in 1984 with Richard Stallman and the GNU Project at MIT. Shortly thereafter in 1985, Stallman created the Free Software Foundation. A few years later (1991) Linus Torvalds released the first Unix-like kernel, referred to as Linux. Red Hat was founded in 1994 to distribute and support Linux commercially, and in 1995, a community of developers started work on the Apache Web Server. In 1997 Eric Raymond published a seminal essay, The Cathedral and the Bazaar, on software engineering methods, examining the struggle between top-down and bottom-up design. Then in 1998, the term "open source" was coined, and the Open Source Initiative (a non-profit organization) was formed.
Since then, open source has grown dramatically. There are hundreds of thousands of open source projects and billions of lines of source code available on the Internet – please visit our open source projects and open source licenses data pages for further information.