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Open Source Insights

The term “open source” refers to something people can modify and share because its design is publicly accessible.

The term originated in the context of software development to designate a specific approach to creating computer programs. Today, however, “open source” designates a broader set of values—what we call “the open source way.” Open source projects, products, or initiatives embrace and celebrate principles of open exchange, collaborative participation, rapid prototyping, transparency, meritocracy, and community-oriented development.


What is open source software?

Open source software is software with source code that anyone can inspect, modify, and enhance.

“Source code” is the part of software that most computer users don’t ever see; it’s the code computer programmers can manipulate to change how a piece of software—a “program” or “application”—works. Programmers who have access to a computer program’s source code can improve that program by adding features to it or fixing parts that don’t always work correctly.


The Open Organization Definition Book

Preamble

Openness is becoming increasingly central to the ways groups and teams of all sizes are working together to achieve shared goals. And today, the most forward-thinking organizations—whatever their missions—are embracing openness as a necessary orientation toward success

Greater agility, as members are more capable of working toward goals in unison and with shared vision;

Faster innovation, as ideas from both inside and outside the organization receive more equitable consideration and rapid experimentation, and;

Increased engagement, as members clearly see connections between their particular activities and an organization’s overarching values, mission, and spirit.