Open Source


"The Open Source Initiative (OSI) applies the term Open Source to all software whose license agreements meet the following three characteristics and the ten points of the Open Source Definition:

  • The software (i.e. the source code) is available in a form that is readable and comprehensible to humans: As a rule, this form is the source code in a higher programming language. Before the actual program is run, it is usually necessary to convert this text into a binary form using a compiler, so that the computer can execute the computer program. Binary programs are practically unreadable to humans in the semantic sense.
  • The software may be copied, distributed and used at will: There are no usage restrictions for open source software, neither regarding the number of users, nor regarding the number of installations. The reproduction and distribution of open source software does not entail any payment obligations against a licensor. Typically, only the distribution of the source code is required.
  • The software may be modified and distributed in the modified form: The disclosed source code makes it possible for anyone to make changes without further effort. The distribution of the software should be possible without licence fees. Open source software is virtually dependent on the active participation of the users in the development. Open source software is therefore an ideal way to learn, participate and improve.

However, open source does not mean, as is often assumed, everything is allowed; conditions are attached to its use. Unconditional use typically exists only for public domain software.