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Software Licenses   >   Glossary   >   OSS

   
 

OSS


Open Source Software (abbreviated as "OSS") is computer software for which the source code is made available, and for which it is usually (some exceptions, rules and restrictions may apply) permitted to study, modify and improve the software. Additionally, users are also normally permitted (again, exceptions, rules and restrictions may apply) to distribute the software in modified or unmodified form.

Open Source is not a trademark, so while most people used the term in broadly the same way, sometimes you may find that software described as "Open Source" is actually being distributed on a different licensing basis, etc. To reduce the possibility of confusion, the Open Source Initiative developed a set of 10 criteria (OSD) for Open Source licenses, and those licenses which have been verified as satisfying those critera may be described as OSI Certified.

In practical terms, most Open Source Software may also be considered Free Software and vice-versa. The two are therefore often placed together in a combined category named either Free/Open-Source Software ("FOSS") or Free/Libre/Open-Source Software ("FLOSS").

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