What are free and open systems and applications?

Free and open systems and applications are the new paradigm of software development, especially for networking and network applications and increasingly for desktop, database, simulation, and storage applications. The Internet is itself an example of the success and rapid growth made possible through openness, and so is the PC as desktop computing hardware. Openness eliminates barriers for developing, using, testing, and improving software and systems and is the wave of future development.

Next: Why Free? Why Open?

Some terms used here are:

  1. Source Code: the original programming instructions that make software work
  2. Free & Open: no fee for use, openly published source code
  3. Open: source code provided
  4. Free: no source, but no fee to use.
  5. Open platform: runs in an open operating system on generic hardware

Jeff Chan
March 2000