Open Source Application Development: Licensing in the IT World

Open Source App Development is extremely popular in today’s market. Here are some of the latest trends enveloping the field.

The open source model helps end users with source code free of charge with the right to modify and even extend the program. Open source software methods are always found under the open source license. Further development within the model needs to be disclosed too.

The open source model is extremely popular since it supports the free ideology and has many enthusiastic supporters. At the core, there are two interesting facts:

The first fact is it motivates the programmers to add functionalities although they are unpaid. Economists are mostly puzzled with the fact about the intention of a volunteer to invest time and effort for developing programs in the open source platform. Like other products which are attached to IP, the intellectual property in software is licensed for use only and not sold outright. Regardless of the fact whether the software is proprietary or available under open source, programs are distributed under similar licensing agreements.

There are several different types of open source licenses. The main difference is the degree of restrictions they entail. Reciprocal (or viral) licenses require that modifications to the program also be licensed under the same license as the original work. The GNU General Public License (GPL) is extremely popular open source license wherein the source code must be mandatorily made available to users. Those incorporating code from GPL have to make the source code available too. The GPL is, restrictive in licensing measures and hence impossible to develop commercial products through the license.

Some permissive licenses help in redistribution under particular rules. Under them, the software can be easily modified and one is not forced to share the new source code publicly as long as the source is properly attributed.

Studies point out that on average, firms who use software with restrictive licenses supply very few proprietary software products than the firms who make use of software available under less restrictive licenses. The choice of licenses matters a great deal since open source projects which are found on commercial operating systems are not quite restrictive licenses, while those which are targeted for end users make use of restrictive licenses.

One can see increased firm participation in many open source development projects. The degree of reliance has drastically changed in recent years. Most work is done by contributors who now work for software development firms. Many important open source projects are hosted sometimes within an institutional setting. In some other cases, firms are the prime sponsors of different open source projects.

Open source projects sometimes earn great commercial success. In many markets, open source and proprietary products compete with each other intensively. Even many proprietary firms have started their own indigenous open source projects themselves, while hiring additional programmers. Some IT firms embrace mixed licensing models wherein some products are proprietary while some of the products are open source This benefits the firm as well as the market since the code which is developed in the public domain, bugs will be sorted out easily.

Open source has also spread well beyond software development to embrace digital content where Creative Commons is one of the biggest sites for open source.

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