Open Source Software Essay

Total Length: 1916 words ( 6 double-spaced pages)

Total Sources: 9

Page 1 of 6

The term "open source software" has been used to refer to computer software whose source code is available for public use, either exactly the way it is, or after certain alterations are made to it. Such software normally requires no license fee. OSS applications are available for various purposes like web design, communications, office automation, content management, and operating systems (Necas & Klapetek, 2012). One major difference between proprietary software and OSS is license. Just like copyright material, one will nearly always find that software is licensed. Software licenses reveal what use the software is intended for. OSSs are unique as they are always distributed under certified licenses for meeting open source criteria (Gaff & Ploussios, 2012), including the rights of unrestricted software redistribution, source code access, source code modification, and distribution of the software's modified version.

Review of literature

OSS originates from the following 3 operating systems' creation -- Linux, UNIX, and GNU. Right from the start, OSS has been linked closely to academia. The origins of UNIX lie in the 60's joint venture between Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Bell Labs, for developing the novel "Multics" operating system. Drawing on that project, a few programmers came up with the flexible UNIX operating system (Gaff & Ploussios, 2012). Educational institutions could buy source codes of UNIX at an appreciably lower price compared to that demanded from governmental and business organizations.

The main reasons for the adoption of OSS by government and public organization is transparency, citizen access cost, and more efficient communication and service delivery. Fitzgerald et al. (2011) analyze five cases of the adoption of OSS in public organizations and develop an overarching conceptual framework to explain the enablers and inhibitors of adoption of OSS in public organizations. Through this review, the authors provide a useful resource for academicians, practitioners, and policymakers. The analysis is done through a comparative analysis of the five cases and the themes used are motivation, technology, strategies, social and economics, and the impact of adoption on theory and practice (Fitzgerald et al. 2011).

Analysis of the review

While reading Gaff & Ploussios (2012), the perception gained by the reader is that the authors intend to provide an accurate and authoritative informative piece regarding the matter of origin and adoption of OSS. The paper lays emphasis on the licensure of OSS, and the various types of license available. The paper is provided based on the understanding that the most authoritative regulatory bodies in the field; IEEE and IEEE Computer Society are willing to provide legal, professional, or accounting guidelines on the matter.
Therefore, for any party that seeks either legal or expert advice on OSS, then the services of another professional and competent individual should be sought.

The Artificial Intelligence Laboratory of MIT initiated a similar project aimed at code enhancement by passing the source code among its programmers. However, IT advancements at the time resulted in the project losing momentum. In the year 1984, Richard Stallman, a programmer, launched the GNU Project (Fitzgerald et al., 2011). The GNU's General Public License (GPS) enables its users to change the source code and release the changed version for use by others, under the very same license. GNU did not have a kernel though, until one was developed by Linus Torvalds. In the year 1992, this kernel became integrated into GNU's operating system. With time, Linux grew in sophistication with the aid of dedicated programmers whose job was attempting improvements on the kernel; thus, Linux-adapted software was created. The years that followed saw the launch of a number of enhanced and commercial Linux versions by vendors like Mandriva, Novell, and Red Hat. Linux continues to be available as a free OSS.

Comparison of Fitzgerald et al. (2011) and Gaff & Ploussios (2012)

Both paper agree that the present-day open software involves more products compared to close Internet-related ones. One can see OSSs, operating systems, special systems and cooperation systems. Concurrently, a number of systems profit through the Internet, making digital cooperation among geographically-distinct entities possible. The Danish public sector and the entire European Union are switching to digital communications when supplying public services -- citizens are situated at the core of this initiative. In other words, coherent services must be provided on a larger level, calling for collaboration among administrative entities and between EU administrative levels, local and county authorities, and national governments (Fitzgerald et al., 2011; Gaff & Ploussios, 2012). Such change urgently requires IT systems for e-governance (e.g., with respect to exchange alternatives among authorities, on security the exchange occurs with, and with the masses. OSS in e-governance poses both opportunities and challenges.

Gaff & Ploussios (2012) argues that a switch to e-governance will require substantial IT investments in the coming years. Hence, it is natural to closely assess the IT meant to be invested in, its application, and who will be in charge of the ownership and creation of basic e-governance technologies. The above activity will boost interest in opportunities unfolding from OSS, making the discussion of OSS's potential application in e-governance relevant as well as economically profitable. On the….....

Show More ⇣

     Open the full completed essay and source list


     Order a one-of-a-kind custom essay on this topic


Fitzgerald, B., Kesan, J.P., Russo, B., Shaikh, M. & Succi, G. (2011). Adopting Open Source Software: A Practical Guide. Cambridge, Mass: The MIT Press.

Gaff, B. M., & Ploussios, G. J. (2012). Open source software. Computer,45(6), 9-11.

Guzzi, A., Bacchelli, A., Lanza, M., Pinzger, M., & Deursen, A. V. (2013, May). Communication in open source software development mailing lists. In Proceedings of the 10th Working Conference on Mining Software Repositories (pp. 277-286). IEEE Press.

Lerner, J. (2013). The comingled code: Open source and economic development. MIT Press Books, 1.

Maurer, Stephen & Scotchmer, Suzanne. (2006). Open Source Software: The New Intellectual Property Paradigm, NBER Working Paper 12148.

Necas, D., & Klapetek, P. (2012). Gwyddion: an open-source software for SPM data analysis. Open Physics, 10(1), 181-188.

Spinellis, D., & Giannikas, V. (2012). Organizational adoption of open source software. Journal of Systems and Software, 85(3), 666-682.

Vetter, Greg R. (2004). The Collaborative Integrity of Open Source Software, Utah L. Rev. 563

Vetter, Greg R. (2009). Commercial Free and Open Source Software: Knowledge Production, Hybrid Appropriability, and Patents, 77 Fordham L. Rev. 2087
Related Essays

Systems Development Process

all individuals within the organization will be necessitated to give input. Open Source Software You are the CIO of your company, and you have to develop an application of strategic importance to your firm. What are the advantages and disadvantages of using open-source software? Do you think that this is a viable option for your company? Comment by babyliza: Not answered One of the advantages of open source software is that it is cost-effective. Open source software is relatively cheaper than products commercially marketed as they are created to provide access to any individual. In addition, they can be beneficial in… Continue Reading...

Bitcoin Essay

open source software, which by definition eschews intellectual property concepts. Cryptocurrency allows people to conduct transactions that are off the typical financial grid, which means not only that people in developing countries stand to benefit but anyone who does not perform well under the prevailing financial model. The decentralized, slightly risky, and “cool” factors make cryptocurrencies exceedingly popular, but they are creeping into the mainstream. All mainstream news sources have been reporting on cryptocurrencies because their value has gone up exponentially over the past year or two. Bitcoin and cryptocurrency… Continue Reading...

Digital Rights Management Ethical Dilemmas

natural control over how they distribute and control their work (Clemons, Gu, & Lang, 2002-2003). Open source software provides a similar example, except where the content creator specifically denies their intellectual property rights. Producers The control over production processes often leaves content creators with a fee or set percentage of commission based on sales, with the rights holder actually being the company that financed the venture. These producers – music labels and academic journal publishers being two examples – claim themselves as category a. They are, however, not. Their claim is based on legal precedent, which in turn is based on a capitalist logic that… Continue Reading...

sample essay writing service

Cite This Resource:

Latest APA Format (6th edition)

Copy Reference
"Open Source Software" (2016, September 26) Retrieved May 25, 2022, from

Latest MLA Format (8th edition)

Copy Reference
"Open Source Software" 26 September 2016. Web.25 May. 2022. <>

Latest Chicago Format (16th edition)

Copy Reference
"Open Source Software", 26 September 2016, Accessed.25 May. 2022,