January 30, 2004

Open Source Software in Schools

Open Source Software (OSS) is an alternative to the "traditional" model of proprietary, closed source, software. The word "source" refers to the
underlying code used to program computer applications. In open source applications, this code is made available for anyone to examine, alter and
distribute. In closed source applications, this code is a closely guarded secret known only to the company that makes the program. Open source is not
a new idea. It has co-existed with closed source for as long as computers have been available to ordinary people. However, it has not been until
fairly recently that using OSS has been a viable option for home and school use.

One consequence of the way OSS programs are managed is that the vast majority are monetarily free. In most cases anyone can download, use, copy,
distribute, and change the software without asking permission or paying anyone.

OSS includes both full operating systems, such as Linux, and applications that run on a variety of operating systems, such as OpenOffice.org.

Link: ossadvocacy.org

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