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Community Tech Talk - open source

Until recent days Open Source Software (OSS) has been seen by the public as an initiative privileged to the Government, Educational Institutions and Large Corporations. Now itís available for free to the home users in need of a stable operating system, web browser, office software, and software for their digital camera, phone, VIOP communications, messenger chat and many others.

Technology and the Internet revolution have made the world a smaller and "flatter" place. Global innovation continues to bring people around the world closer to one another, but we're now starting to realize that just being connected isn't enough.

Fortunately, a new revolution is beginning: one that holds significant potential. The planet is becoming smarter. Intelligence is being infused into the way the world literally works into the systems, processes. The IT industry is going through major changes. New concepts in technology are opening the door to tremendous opportunities for taking business to the next level of profitability. The potential of these technologies to transform business is truly remarkable and open standards and open source software will play increasingly critical roles in this new world.

Open Source & Standards are the key to making our planet smarter and improving the way we live and work. Open Source in IT is software whose source code is published and made available to the public, enabling anyone to copy, modify and redistribute without paying royalties or fees. Open source is a development method for software that harnesses the power of distributed peer review and transparency of process. The promise of open source is better quality, higher reliability, more flexibility, lower cost, and an end to predatory vendor lock-in. The Open Source Initiative is building bridges among different constituencies in the open-source community, education, and public advocacy to promote awareness and the importance of non-proprietary software.

Open source software (OSS) is the most prominent example of open source development and often compared to user-generated content. The term open source software originated as part of a marketing campaign for free software. A report by Standish Group states that adoption of open source software models has resulted in savings of about $60 billion per year to consumers. OSS projects are built and maintained by a network of volunteer programmers. Prime examples of open source products are the Apache HTTP Server, the e-commerce platform osCommerce and the internet browser Mozilla Firefox. One of the most successful open source products is the Linux operating system, an open source Unix-like operating system. Several OSS programs have become defining entries in their space, including the GIMP graphics editing system; Sun's Java programming language and environment; the MySQL database system; Sun's OpenOffice productivity suite to name a few.

Companies like IBM and SUN are driving reforms for IP, Open Source & Standards. IBM an industry leader is helping governments and the larger society in moving toward greater openness and innovation. It has become clear that open source software (OSS) has an important role to play in the IT industry and business in general. Yet there is considerable confusion about the strengths and weaknesses of OSS. Some believe it will eventually replace the commercial software model; even that OSS is a socialistic phenomenon and a critical element of a modern democracy. Others decry OSS as the single greatest threat to capitalism and the principles of intellectual property? Neither of these extremes is accurate. OSS, for the most part, represents a software development process. Open source software (OSS) isn't developed by any one company; it is developed by a community, and it comes in many flavours. For example, the Linux movement was started by an individual who was quickly joined by many others who used the Internet to collaborate on the project we know today as the leading open source platform. Others such as Apache are offshoots of academic work, some, such as Mozilla Firefox and Eclipse, were seeded by substantial code donations from major software companies.

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