User's Guide Book: Annexes --> Glossary

The main source for this glossary was Glossary of Open Source Software Terminology (IDA Open Source Observatory). This glossary contains terms that are commonly used when discussing Open Source Software. This glossary has to be improved.

Group of people sharing na common goal or interest. Often these communities interact via the internet, discussing ideas, sharing knowledge and creating software. Almost every Open Source project has its own community.
Hundreds of Open Source projects are writing software to perform certain tasks. Although they form a strong network, each of these projects is just responsible for its own software. Special organisations bundle all these different applications for use by others. They often add an installation program and configuration tools to make life easier for the user. These bundlings are commonly referred to as distributions.
Free/Libre/Open Source Software, the term most commonly used when talking about either Free (Libre) Software or Open Source Software.
Free Software (The Free Software Definition) -- "Free software" is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of "free" as in "free speech", not as in "free beer". Free software is a matter of the users' freedom to run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software. More precisely, it refers to four kinds of freedom, for the users of the software:
  • The freedom to run the program, for any purpose (freedom 0).
  • The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs (freedom 1). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
  • The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbor (freedom 2).
  • The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits (freedom 3). Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
Recursive acronym for "GNU's Not Unix". The GNU project aims to provide a complete Unix operating system, which can be freely used, copied and modified according to the principles of Free Software.
An operating system based on GNU, using Linux as its kernel.
The core of a system. Linux is the kernel of the GNU/Linux operating system.
The term "Linux" is used to represent different things, depending on the context:
  • Kernel: in its pure form, Linux is only the kernel of an operating system.
  • Operating system: Most commonly the Linux kernel is used as the core of the GNU system. This entire system is called GNU/Linux, but is often abbreviated to just "Linux".
  • Distribution: There are several distributions of GNU/Linux provided by different organisations. People who say they "run Linux" often mean they installed one of these distributions on their computer.
Open Document Exchange Format
Most of today’s electronic office documents have been created by a few commercial software programmes and more often than not each one has its own format. To allow users to process a document they need in many instances to have the same programme (and corresponding versions) or a filter that allows the document to be opened and modified.
Open document exchange formats would do away with this need. They remove dependency on products and technologies by using standardised formats that promise interoperability of document processing. Information exchange via documents being at the hearth of any public sector activity, document interoperability becomes a central issue in any eGovernment strategy.
Open Source
This term can represent different things:
  • License rules: A set of rules which a software license must comply to in order to be called "Open Source".
  • Software license: A license that complies to the forementioned set of rules. Such a license is called an "Open Source license".
  • Project: A group of people working on a software product that is licensed under an Open Source license.
  • Software product: Software licensed under an Open Source license. The product itself is referred to as an "Open Source product" or "Open Source Software".
Open Source Software is plain software, just like you know already. When in operation, you won't notice that the software is actually Open Source. The difference with its counterpart (proprietary software, also known as closed source software or CSS) is the way in which it is licensed.
Open Standards
Source code
The human-understandable texts that programmers type to write applications.

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