Open-source software (OSS) refers to software that provides access to its source code, allowing users to inspect, modify, and enhance it.
The source code, the part of software not typically visible to end-users, serves as the underlying instructions that programmers can manipulate to alter the software’s functionality. Unlike proprietary or closed-source software, where access to the source code is restricted, open-source software allows anyone to contribute to its improvement.
Open-source software typically comes with a distribution license outlining terms for usage, modification, and distribution. Examples of popular licenses governing open source include the MIT License, GNU General Public License (GPL) 2.0 and 3.0, Apache License 2.0, and BSD License 2.0. Licenses vary in their degree of restrictiveness, with some requiring the release of modified code alongside the software.
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