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Six misconceptions about open source software

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OSS

In information technology (IT) and software development fields, there are a few fairly common misconceptions about the use of open source software. These misconceptions were debunked in a discussion at POSSE RIT 2012, and we’d like to share (and spread) that conversation.

Misconception: Free means there is no monetary cost

One common misconception that has existed since the beginning of open source software is the idea that free and open source software means that the software is free in price. The term 'free' in free open source software refers to freedom, not monetary cost. Though most free open source software is indeed free in price, the term 'free' is referring to the freedom to use the software and source code as you please, as long as you attribute copyright to the person (or group) that created the software and the software stays free and open source when it is distributed to others.

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FOSS Licensing

  • Confused by license compatibility? A new article by Richard Stallman may help
    Richard Stallman has published a new guide on gnu.org titled License compatibility and relicensing. Gnu.org is home to a whole host of resources on free software licensing, including frequently asked questions about GNU licenses and our list of free software licenses. Our license list contains information on which licenses are compatible with the GNU General Public License as well as a brief description of what it means to be compatible. This latest article by Stallman provides a more in–depth explanation of what compatibility means and the different ways in which it is achieved.
  • The most important part of your project might not even be a line of code
    What is licensing? Why does it matter? Why should you care? There are many reasons that licensing is an important part of a project you are working on. You are taking the time to write code and share it with the world in an open way, such as publishing it on GitHub, Bitbucket, or any number of other code-hosting services. Anyone might stumble across your code and find it useful. Licensing is the way that you can control exactly how someone who finds your code can use it and in what ways.

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