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The open-source model is a decentralized software-development model that encourages open collaboration.
The open-source movement in software began as a response to the limitations of proprietary code. The model is used for projects such as in open-source appropriate technology ,  and open-source drug discovery. Open source promotes universal access via an open-source or free license to a product's design or blueprint, and universal redistribution of that design or blueprint.
Open source gained hold with the rise of the Internet. Generally, open source refers to a computer program in which the source code is available to the general public for use or modification from its original design. Open-source code is meant to be a collaborative effort, where programmers improve upon the source code and share the changes within the community. Code is released under the terms of a software license. Depending on the license terms, others may then download, modify, and publish their version fork back to the community.
Many large formal institutions have sprung up to support the development of the open-source movement, including the Apache Software Foundation , which supports community projects such as the open-source framework Apache Hadoop and the open-source HTTP server Apache HTTP.
The sharing of technical information predates the Internet and the personal computer considerably. For instance, in the early years of automobile development a group of capital monopolists owned the rights to a 2-cycle gasoline-engine patent originally filed by George B. In , independent automaker Henry Ford won a challenge to the Selden patent. The result was that the Selden patent became virtually worthless and a new association which would eventually become the Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association was formed.
Early instances of the free sharing of source code include IBM 's source releases of its operating systems and other programs in the s and s, and the SHARE user group that formed to facilitate the exchange of software. This led to the birth of the early Internet in BSD , for example, was first widely distributed by posts to comp.
Linux followed in this model. The term "open source" was first proposed by a group of people in the free software movement who were critical of the political agenda and moral philosophy implied in the term "free software" and sought to reframe the discourse to reflect a more commercially minded position. Peterson suggested "open source" at a meeting  held at Palo Alto, California , in reaction to Netscape 's announcement in January of a source code release for Navigator.
Richard Stallman , the founder of the free software movement, initially seemed to adopt the term, but later changed his mind. Raymond was especially active in the effort to popularize the new term. He made the first public call to the free software community to adopt it in February The term gained further visibility through an event organized in April by technology publisher Tim O'Reilly.
At that meeting, alternatives to the term "free software" were discussed. Tiemann argued for "sourceware" as a new term, while Raymond argued for "open source". The assembled developers took a vote, and the winner was announced at a press conference the same evening. Some economists agree that open-source is an information good  or "knowledge good" with original work involving a significant amount of time, money, and effort. Copyright creates a monopoly so the price charged to consumers can be significantly higher than the marginal cost of production.
This allows the author to recoup the cost of making the original work. Copyright thus creates access costs for consumers who value the work more than the marginal cost but less than the initial production cost. Access costs also pose problems for authors who wish to create a derivative work —such as a copy of a software program modified to fix a bug or add a feature, or a remix of a song—but are unable or unwilling to pay the copyright holder for the right to do so.
Being organized as effectively a " consumers' cooperative ", open source eliminates some of the access costs of consumers and creators of derivative works by reducing the restrictions of copyright. Basic economic theory predicts that lower costs would lead to higher consumption and also more frequent creation of derivative works. Organizations such as Creative Commons host websites where individuals can file for alternative "licenses", or levels of restriction, for their works.
Others argue that since consumers do not pay for their copies, creators are unable to recoup the initial cost of production and thus have little economic incentive to create in the first place.
By this argument, consumers would lose out because some of the goods they would otherwise purchase would not be available. In practice, content producers can choose whether to adopt a proprietary license and charge for copies, or an open license.
Some goods which require large amounts of professional research and development, such as the pharmaceutical industry which depends largely on patents , not copyright for intellectual property protection are almost exclusively proprietary, although increasingly sophisticated technologies are being developed on open-source principles. There is evidence that open-source development creates enormous value. RepRap 3D printers can replicate the product for the cost of materials.
Alternative arrangements have also been shown to result in good creation outside of the proprietary license model. Social and political views have been affected by the growth of the concept of open source.
Advocates in one field often support the expansion of open source in other fields. But Eric Raymond and other founders of the open-source movement have sometimes publicly argued against speculation about applications outside software, saying that strong arguments for software openness should not be weakened by overreaching into areas where the story may be less compelling. The broader impact of the open-source movement, and the extent of its role in the development of new information sharing procedures, remain to be seen.
The open-source movement has inspired increased transparency and liberty in biotechnology research, for example by open therapeutics and CAMBIA  Even the research methodologies themselves can benefit from the application of open-source principles.
Open-source software is software whose source code is published and made available to the public, enabling anyone to copy, modify and redistribute the source code without paying royalties or fees. These communities are composed of individual programmers as well as large companies.
Some of the individual programmers who start an open-source project may end up establishing companies offering products or services incorporating open-source programs. Open-source hardware is hardware whose initial specification, usually in a software format, are published and made available to the public, enabling anyone to copy, modify and redistribute the hardware and source code without paying royalties or fees.
Open-source hardware evolves through community cooperation. Examples of open-source hardware initiatives are:. Some publishers of open-access journals have argued that data from food science and gastronomy studies should be freely available to aid reproducibility.
An open-source robot is a robot whose blueprints, schematics, or source code are released under an open-source model. The rise of open-source culture in the 20th century resulted from a growing tension between creative practices that involve require access to content that is often copyrighted , and restrictive intellectual property laws and policies governing access to copyrighted content.
The two main ways in which intellectual property laws became more restrictive in the 20th century were extensions to the term of copyright particularly in the United States and penalties, such as those articulated in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act DMCA , placed on attempts to circumvent anti-piracy technologies. Although artistic appropriation is often permitted under fair-use doctrines, the complexity and ambiguity of these doctrines creates an atmosphere of uncertainty among cultural practitioners.
Also, the protective actions of copyright owners create what some call a " chilling effect " among cultural practitioners. The idea of an "open-source" culture runs parallel to " Free Culture ," but is substantively different. Free culture is a term derived from the free software movement , and in contrast to that vision of culture, proponents of open-source culture OSC maintain that some intellectual property law needs to exist to protect cultural producers.
Yet they propose a more nuanced position than corporations have traditionally sought. Instead of seeing intellectual property law as an expression of instrumental rules intended to uphold either natural rights or desirable outcomes, an argument for OSC takes into account diverse goods as in "the Good life" and ends. Sites such as ccMixter offer up free web space for anyone willing to license their work under a Creative Commons license.
The resulting cultural product is then available to download free generally accessible to anyone with an Internet connection. Through various technologies such as peer-to-peer networks and blogs , cultural producers can take advantage of vast social networks to distribute their products.
As opposed to traditional media distribution, redistributing digital media on the Internet can be virtually costless. Irish philosopher Richard Kearney has used the term "open-source Hinduism" to refer to the way historical figures such as Mohandas Gandhi and Swami Vivekananda worked upon this ancient tradition. Open-source journalism formerly referred to the standard journalistic techniques of news gathering and fact checking, reflecting open-source intelligence a similar term used in military intelligence circles.
Now, open-source journalism commonly refers to forms of innovative publishing of online journalism , rather than the sourcing of news stories by a professional journalist. In the 25 December issue of TIME magazine this is referred to as user created content and listed alongside more traditional open-source projects such as OpenSolaris and Linux. Weblogs , or blogs, are another significant platform for open-source culture. Blogs consist of periodic, reverse chronologically ordered posts, using a technology that makes webpages easily updatable with no understanding of design, code, or file transfer required.
While corporations, political campaigns and other formal institutions have begun using these tools to distribute information, many blogs are used by individuals for personal expression, political organizing, and socializing. Some, such as LiveJournal or WordPress , utilize open-source software that is open to the public and can be modified by users to fit their own tastes.
Whether the code is open or not, this format represents a nimble tool for people to borrow and re-present culture; whereas traditional websites made the illegal reproduction of culture difficult to regulate, the mutability of blogs makes "open sourcing" even more uncontrollable since it allows a larger portion of the population to replicate material more quickly in the public sphere.
Messageboards are another platform for open-source culture. Messageboards also known as discussion boards or forums , are places online where people with similar interests can congregate and post messages for the community to read and respond to. Messageboards sometimes have moderators who enforce community standards of etiquette such as banning users who are spammers.
Other common board features are private messages where users can send messages to one another as well as chat a way to have a real time conversation online and image uploading. Some messageboards use phpBB , which is a free open-source package. Where blogs are more about individual expression and tend to revolve around their authors, messageboards are about creating a conversation amongst its users where information can be shared freely and quickly.
Messageboards are a way to remove intermediaries from everyday life—for instance, instead of relying on commercials and other forms of advertising, one can ask other users for frank reviews of a product, movie or CD. By removing the cultural middlemen, messageboards help speed the flow of information and exchange of ideas. OpenDocument is an open document file format for saving and exchanging editable office documents such as text documents including memos, reports, and books , spreadsheets , charts, and presentations.
Organizations and individuals that store their data in an open format such as OpenDocument avoid being locked into a single software vendor, leaving them free to switch software if their current vendor goes out of business, raises their prices, changes their software, or changes their licensing terms to something less favorable.
Open-source movie production is either an open call system in which a changing crew and cast collaborate in movie production, a system in which the end result is made available for re-use by others or in which exclusively open-source products are used in the production. The movie Elephants Dream is said to be the "world's first open movie",  created entirely using open-source technology. An open-source documentary film has a production process allowing the open contributions of archival material footage , and other filmic elements, both in unedited and edited form, similar to crowdsourcing.
By doing so, on-line contributors become part of the process of creating the film, helping to influence the editorial and visual material to be used in the documentary, as well as its thematic development. The first open-source documentary film is the non-profit " The American Revolution ", which went into development in , and will examine the role media played in the cultural, social and political changes from to through the story of radio station WBCN-FM in Boston.
Open Source Cinema is a website to create Basement Tapes, a feature documentary about copyright in the digital age, co-produced by the National Film Board of Canada. It can also refer to a method of film-making where the process of creation is 'open' i. Open-IPTV uses the Internet or other means to pool efforts and resources together to create an online community that all contributes to a show. Within the academic community, there is discussion about expanding what could be called the "intellectual commons" analogous to the Creative Commons.
Open-source curricula are instructional resources whose digital source can be freely used, distributed and modified. Another strand to the academic community is in the area of research. Many funded research projects produce software as part of their work.
There is an increasing interest in making the outputs of such projects available under an open-source license.