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In production and development, open source as a development model promotes a universal access via a free license to a product's design or blueprint, and universal redistribution of that design or blueprint, including subsequent improvements to it by anyone. Before the phrase open source became widely adopted, developers and producers used a variety of other terms. Open source gained hold with the rise of the Internet, and the attendant need for massive retooling of the computing source code. Opening the source code enabled a self-enhancing diversity of production models, communication paths, and interactive communities. The open-source software movement arose to clarify the environment that the new copyright, licensing, domain, and consumer issues created.
Generally, open source refers to a computer program in which the source code is available to the general public for use and/or modification from its original design. Open-source code is typically a collaborative effort where programmers improve upon the source code and share the changes within the community so that other members can help improve it further.
Many large formal institutions have sprung up to support the development of the open source movement, including the Apache Software Foundation, which supports projects such as the open source framework behind big data Apache Hadoop and an open-source HTTP server Apache HTTP.
A main principle of open-source software development is peer production by collaboration, with the end-product, source code, "blueprints", and documentation available at no cost to the public. The open source movement in software began as a response to the limitations of closed proprietary code, and it is now spreading across different fields. This model is also used for the development of open-source-appropriate technologies, solar photovoltaic technology and open-source drug discovery.
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The sharing of technological 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. Selden. By controlling this patent, they were able to monopolize the industry and force car manufacturers to adhere to their demands, or risk a lawsuit. In 1911, 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. The new association instituted a cross-licensing agreement among all US auto manufacturers: although each company would develop technology and file patents, these patents were shared openly and without the exchange of money among all the manufacturers. By the time the US entered World War II, 92 Ford patents and 515 patents from other companies were being shared among these manufacturers, without any exchange of money (or lawsuits).
Very similar[vague] to open standards, researchers with access to Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET) used a process called Request for Comments to develop telecommunication network protocols. This collaborative process of the 1960s led to the birth of the Internet in 1969.
Early instances of the free sharing of source code include IBM's source releases of its operating systems and other programs in the 1950s and 1960s, and the SHARE user group that formed to facilitate the exchange of software.
In a foreshadowing of the Internet, software with source code included became available on BBS networks in the 1980s. This was sometimes a necessity; distributing software written in BASIC and other interpreted languages can only be distributed as source code as there is no separate portable executable binary to distribute.
Example of BBS systems and networks that gathered source code, and setup up boards specifically to discuss its modification includes WWIV, developed initially in BASIC by Wayne Bell. A culture of modifying his software and distributing the modifications, grew up so extensively that when the software was ported to first Pascal, then C++, its source code continued to be distributed to registered users, who would share mods and compile their own versions of the software. This may have contributed to its being a dominant system and network, despite being outside the Fidonet umbrella that was shared by so many other BBS makers.
The sharing of source code on the Internet began when the Internet was relatively primitive, with software distributed via UUCP, Usenet, and IRC, and Gopher. BSD, for example, was first widely distributed by posts to comp.os.linux on the Usenet, which is also where its development was discussed. Linux followed in this model.
The label "open source" was adopted by a group of people in the free software movement at a strategy session held at Palo Alto, California, in reaction to Netscape's January 1998 announcement of a source code release for Navigator. The group of individuals at the session included Christine Peterson who suggested "open source", Todd Anderson, Larry Augustin, Jon Hall, Sam Ockman, Michael Tiemann and Eric S. Raymond. Over the next week, Raymond and others worked on spreading the word. Linus Torvalds gave an all-important sanction the following day. Phil Hughes offered a pulpit in Linux Journal. Richard Stallman, pioneer of the free software movement, initially seemed to adopt the term, but later changed his mind. Those people who adopted the term used the opportunity before the release of Navigator's source code to free themselves from the ideology of the term "free software". Netscape released its source code under the Netscape Public License and later under the Mozilla Public License.
In February 1998, Raymond made the first public call to the free software community to adopt the new term. The Open Source Initiative was formed shortly thereafter by Eric Raymond and Bruce Perens.
The term was given a big boost at an event organized in April 1998 by technology publisher Tim O'Reilly. Originally titled the "Freeware Summit" and later known as the "Open Source Summit", The event brought together the leaders of many of the most important free and open-source projects, including Linus Torvalds, Larry Wall, Brian Behlendorf, Eric Allman, Guido van Rossum, Michael Tiemann, Paul Vixie, Jamie Zawinski of Netscape, and Eric Raymond. At that meeting, the confusion caused by the name free software was brought up. 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 that evening.
Starting in the beginning of the 2000s, a number of companies began to publish a small parts of their source code to claim they were open source, while keeping key parts closed. This led to the development of the now widely used terms free open-source software and commercial open-source software to distinguish between truly open and hybrid forms of open source.[original research?]
|It has been suggested that Open-source economics be merged into this article. (Discuss) Proposed since December 2013.|
Most economists agree that open-source candidates have an information good (also termed "knowledge good") aspect. In general, this suggests that the original work involves a great deal of time, money, and effort. However, the cost of reproducing the work is very low, so that additional users may be added at zero or near zero cost – this is referred to as the marginal cost of a product. 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, without needing to find a single customer that can bear the entire cost. Conventional 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 effectively as a consumers' cooperative, the idea of open source is to eliminate the access costs of the consumer and the 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. Additionally some proponents argue that open source also relieves society of the administration and enforcement costs of copyright. Organizations such as Creative Commons have websites where individuals can file for alternative "licenses", or levels of restriction, for their works. These self-made protections free the general society of the costs of policing copyright infringement. Thus, on several fronts, there is an efficiency argument to be made on behalf of open-sourced goods.
However, others argue that because consumers do not pay for the copies, creators are unable to recoup the initial cost of production, and thus have no 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 at all. 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.
Alternative arrangements have also been shown to result in good creation outside of the proprietary model. Examples include:
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 CAMBIA. Even the research methodologies themselves can benefit from the application of open-source principles. It has also given rise to the rapidly expanding open-source hardware movement. In the book Democratizing Innovation it is argued that a trend toward democratized innovation in physical products (e.g. open-source hardware) is occurring like the free and open-source software movement, and that the difference between crowdsourcing and open source is that open-source production is a cooperative activity initiated and voluntarily undertaken by members of the public. One of the primary geographically diverse communities that is utilizing this developmental method is the scientific community, for example using open-source hardware to reduce the cost of scientific equipment.
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. Open-source code can evolve through community cooperation. 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. Examples of open-source software products are:
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. These communities are composed of individual hardware/software developers, hobbyists, as well as very large companies. Examples of open-source hardware initiatives are:
An open-source robot is a robot whose blueprints, schematics, and/or source code are released under an open-source model.
An investigation of open-source industrial symbiosis was performed by Doyle and Pearce using Google Earth. Their paper found that virtual globes coupled with open-source waste information can be used to:
|This section duplicates, in whole or part, the scope of other articles. (June 2013)|
|This section possibly contains original research. (May 2012)|
Open-source culture is the creative practice of appropriation and free sharing of found and created content. Examples include collage, found footage film, music, and appropriation art. Open-source culture is one in which fixations, works entitled to copyright protection, are made generally available. Participants in the culture can modify those products and redistribute them back into the community or other organizations.
The rise of open-source culture in the 20th century resulted from a growing tension between creative practices that involve appropriation, and therefore require access to content that is often copyrighted, and increasingly 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.
In the late 20th century, cultural practitioners began to adopt the intellectual property licensing techniques of free software and open-source software to make their work more freely available to others, including the Creative Commons.
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.
One way of achieving the goal of making the fixations of cultural work generally available is to maximally utilize technology and digital media. In keeping with Moore's law's prediction about processors, the cost of digital media and storage plummeted in the late 20th Century. Consequently, the marginal cost of digitally duplicating anything capable of being transmitted via digital media dropped to near zero. Combined with an explosive growth in personal computer and technology ownership, the result is an increase in general population's access to digital media. This phenomenon facilitated growth in open-source culture because it allowed for rapid and inexpensive duplication and distribution of culture. Where the access to the majority of culture produced prior to the advent of digital media was limited by other constraints of proprietary and potentially "open" mediums, digital media is the latest technology with the potential to increase access to cultural products. Artists and users who choose to distribute their work digitally face none of the physical limitations that traditional cultural producers have been typically faced with. Accordingly, the audience of an open-source culture faces little physical cost in acquiring digital media.
Open-source culture precedes Richard Stallman's codification of free software with the creation of the Free Software movement. As the public began to communicate through Bulletin Board Systems (BBS) like FidoNet, places like Sourcery Systems BBS were dedicated to providing source code to Public Domain, Shareware and Freeware programs.
Essentially born out of a desire for increased general access to digital media, the Internet is open-source culture's most valuable asset. It is questionable whether the goals of an open-source culture could be achieved without the Internet. The global network not only fosters an environment where culture can be generally accessible, but also allows for easy and inexpensive redistribution of culture back into various communities. Some reasons for this are as follows.
First, the Internet allows even greater access to inexpensive digital media and storage. Instead of users being limited to their own facilities and resources, they are granted access to a vast network of facilities and resources, some free. 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. Second, users are granted unprecedented access to each other. Older analog technologies such as the telephone or television have limitations on the kind of interaction users can have. In the case of television there is little, if any interaction between users participating on the network. And in the case of the telephone, users rarely interact with any more than a couple of their known peers. On the Internet, however, users have the potential to access and meet millions of their peers. This aspect of the Internet facilitates the modification of culture as users are able to collaborate and communicate with each other across international and cultural boundaries. The speed in which digital media travels on the Internet in turn facilitates the redistribution of culture.
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. Technologies such as BitTorrent and Gnutella take advantage of various characteristics of the Internet protocol (TCP/IP) in an attempt to totally decentralize file distribution.
Open-source ethics is split into two strands:
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 December 25, 2006 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 2006 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. 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 production in 2005, and will examine the role media played in the cultural, social and political changes from 1968 to 1974 through the story of radio station WBCN-FM in Boston. The film is being produced by Lichtenstein Creative Media and the non-profit Filmmakers Collaborative. 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. Open-source film-making refers to a form of film-making that takes a method of idea formation from open-source software, but in this case the 'source' for a filmmaker is raw unedited footage rather than programming code. It can also refer to a method of film-making where the process of creation is 'open' i.e. a disparate group of contributors, at different times contribute to the final piece.
Open-IPTV is IPTV that is not limited to one recording studio, production studio, or cast. 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). Proponents of this view have hailed the Connexions Project at Rice University, OpenCourseWare project at MIT, Eugene Thacker's article on "open-source DNA", the "Open Source Cultural Database", Salman Khan's Khan Academy and Wikipedia as examples of applying open source outside the realm of computer software.
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. In the UK the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) has developed a policy on open-source software. JISC also funds a development service called OSS Watch which acts as an advisory service for higher and further education institutions wishing to use, contribute to and develop open-source software.
On March 30, 2010, President Barack Obama signed the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act, which included $2 billion over four years to fund the TAACCCT program, which is described as "the largest OER (open education resources) initiative in the world and uniquely focused on creating curricula in partnership with industry for credentials in vocational industry sectors like manufacturing, health, energy, transportation and IT."
The principle of sharing pre-dates the open-source movement; for example, the free sharing of information has been institutionalized in the scientific enterprise since at least the 19th century. Open-source principles have always been part of the scientific community. The sociologist Robert K. Merton described the four basic elements of the community – universalism (an international perspective), communalism (sharing information), disinterestedness (removing one's personal views from the scientific inquiry) and organized skepticism (requirements of proof and review) that accurately describe the scientific community today.
These principles are, in part, complemented by US law's focus on protecting expression and method but not the ideas themselves. There is also a tradition of publishing research results to the scientific community instead of keeping all such knowledge proprietary. One of the recent initiatives in scientific publishing has been open access – the idea that research should be published in such a way that it is free and available to the public. There are currently many open access journals where the information is available free online, however most journals do charge a fee (either to users or libraries for access). The Budapest Open Access Initiative is an international effort with the goal of making all research articles available free on the Internet.
The National Institutes of Health has recently proposed a policy on "Enhanced Public Access to NIH Research Information." This policy would provide a free, searchable resource of NIH-funded results to the public and with other international repositories six months after its initial publication. The NIH's move is an important one because there is significant amount of public funding in scientific research. Many of the questions have yet to be answered – the balancing of profit vs. public access, and ensuring that desirable standards and incentives do not diminish with a shift to open access.
Farmavita.Net is a community of pharmaceuticals executives that has recently proposed a new business model of open-source pharmaceuticals. The project is targeted to development and sharing of know-how for manufacture of essential and life-saving medicines. It is mainly dedicated to the countries with less developed economies where local pharmaceutical research and development resources are insufficient for national needs. It will be limited to generic (off-patent) medicines with established use. By the definition, medicinal product have a "well-established use" if is used for at least 15 years, with recognized efficacy and an acceptable level of safety. In that event, the expensive clinical test and trial results could be replaced by appropriate scientific literature.
New NGO communities are starting to use the open-source technology as a tool. One example is the Open Source Youth Network started in 2007 in Lisboa by ISCA members.
Copyright protection is used in the performing arts and even in athletic activities. Some groups have attempted to remove copyright from such practices.
In 2012, Russian music composer, scientist and Russian Pirate Party member Victor Argonov presented detailed raw files of his electronic opera "2032" under free license CC-BY-NC 3.0. This opera was originally composed and published in 2007 by Russian label MC Entertainment as a commercial product, but then the author changed its status to free. In his blog  he said that he decided to open raw files (including wav, midi and other used formats) to the public in order to support worldwide pirate actions against SOPA and PIPA. Several Internet resources, called "2032" the first open source musical opera in history.
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