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About Open-Source Software


The Open Source Initiative (OSI) are the stewards of what is generally considered to be the definition of open-source software. Open-source software is distributed under a license that grants the rights to use, study, change and share the software. These software freedoms are what open-source software is all about.


Some of the properties found in open-source software are:

  • Flexibility

    Open-source software can be freely installed on as many computers as you like, and often it will run on a very wide range of different platforms. With the right expertise you can change what the software does, and how it does it. This allows a level of customisation not normally available in other types of software.

  • Shared Costs

    With open-source software the development and maintenance costs are shared between the companies and individuals that are involved with each project. The result of this is reduced costs for each individual company, and software that is overall more cost effective when it is compared to software that is owned and maintained by a single company.

  • Transparency

    The defining feature of open-source software is that the source code for the software is freely available. This means you can inspect the program to see what it does, which can provide some reassurance that the program is not doing anything deceptive behind the scenes. Open standards, and the ability to see how a program stores its data, help reduce vendor lock-in.

  • Distributed Development

    Companies and individuals from around the world get involved in open-source projects. The collaborative development model lets people work together to create software that benefits everyone. It also means that an open-source project is not fully reliant on on a single company.

  • Quality

    Just because software is open-source does not guarantee that it is well written. However, in well managed open-source projects changes to improve or extend the software get included based solely on quality criteria. Things like the companies bottom line, or a customer release date, are not factors that influence whether a change or feature gets included.

  • Auditable Code

    Freely available source code means that an application can be inspected by anyone to see what it is doing, and how it is doing it. This does not guarantee that security flaws will be found and fixed, but does allow you, or someone on your behalf, to audit the code and propose fixes, if you want to. In active open-source projects security problems are generally fixed quite quickly, as it is not possible to hide the issues and hope no-one finds them.

Open-Source Applications

There are open-source alternatives for a wide range of different applications. We can provide help installing, setting up, and supporting systems that use open-source software.