OPEN-SOURCE SOFTWARE - VALUE THE DIFFERENCE
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The Difference Between Free and Open-Source Software
By preventing licensees from copying and changing the software source code, the idea holds, proprietary software publishers stifle
innovation and hold back the potential growth of new technologies. This stance inspired the creation of licenses which grant users
the rights to study, change, and share the software source code to their liking. Software licensed in such a way is usually known
by one of two names: free software or open-source software.
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Broadly speaking, both terms refer to the same thing: software with few restrictions on how it can be used. From the perspective of their proponents, both free and open-source software are safer, more efficient, and work more reliably than their proprietary counterparts. Why, though, do we have two labels for the same thing? The answer involves a bit of history, and an understanding of the nuances that form two separate but closely related movements.
As far as most people are concerned, the difference in meaning between free software and open-source software is negligible, and comes from a slight difference in approach or philosophy. As the Open Source Initiative sees it, both terms mean the same thing, and they can be used interchangeably in just about any context. They simply prefer the open source label because they believe it provides a clearer description of the software and its creators intent for how it should be used.
The terms free software and open-source software are interchangeable for most contexts, and whether someone prefers one over the other usually comes down to a matter of semantics or their philosophical outlook. However, for many programmers that are looking to develop software and get it out to the public or for activists hoping to change the way people see and interact with technology, the difference can be an important one. Thus, when releasing new software, it's essential to carefully weigh the pros and cons of different licenses including proprietary licenses and choose the one that best suits your particular needs.
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