Friday, May 6, 2011

Open source movement (wikiPedia)

The open source movement is a broad-reaching movement comprised both officially and unofficially of individuals who feel that software should be produced altruistically[citation needed]. The source code of open source software is available for others to use and adapt. It is said to be generally more stable than proprietary software as well as more secure and less likely to get a virus[citation needed]. Open source software is made available to anybody to use, or to modify as its source code is made available. The freedom of the software is subject only to the stipulation that the user of the software makes any enhancements or changes as freely available to the public. Open source software promotes learning and understanding through the dissemination of understanding. The main difference between open source and traditional proprietary software is in the terms of user and property rights. These rights reside in the conditions of use that are imposed on the user by the license of the software, as opposed to a difference in the programming code. With open source software, users are granted the right to both the program's functionality and methodology. With proprietary software programs, such as Microsoft Office, users only have the rights to functionality.[1] Libraries are using open source software to develop information as well as library services. The purpose of open source is to provide a software that is cheaper, reliable and has better quality. The one feature that makes this software so sought after is that it is free. Libraries in particular benefit from this movement because of the resources it provides. They also promote the same ideas of learning and understanding new information through the resources of other people. Open source allows a sense of community. It is an invitation for anyone to provide information about various topics. The open source tools even allow libraries to create web-based catalogs. According to the IT source there are various library programs that benefit from this. “MARC.pm (http://marcpm.sourceforge.net) is a Perl-based module for reading, manipulating, outputting, and converting bibliographic records in the MARC format.”[2] Programmerswho support the open source movement philosophy contribute to the open source community by voluntarily writing and exchanging programming code for software development.[3] The term “open source” requires that no one can discriminate against a group in not sharing the edited code or hinder others from editing their already edited work. This approach to software development allows anyone to obtain and modify open source code. These modifications are distributed back to the developers within the open source community of people who are working with the software. In this way, the identities of all individuals participating in code modification are disclosed and the transformation of the code is documented over time.[4] This method makes it difficult to establish ownership of a particular bit of code but is in keeping with the open source movement philosophy. These goals promote the production of “high quality programs” as well as “working cooperatively with other similarly minded people” to improve open source technologies.[3]