An open source platform is any platform that allows access to its source code to any other users or developers. An open source platform is one aspect of a wide availability of open source products. In contrast with closed source software, which is a type of proprietary software that reserves rights only to authorized individuals, open source software aims to allow equal access to anyone and everyone. Open source products are oftentimes part of the free software movement, and the associated Free Software Foundation founded by Richard Stallman in 1985. Rather than being concerned with the cost of the software, the free software movement, and associated foundation, aim to ensure that software users are free to run software, study the software, modify the software, and share such modifications. However, not all open source platforms are part of the free software movement, but they are almost always part of the open source software movement.
The open source movement is part of open collaboration. While most often utilized as part of software development, similar ideals can be applied to a wide range of open source technologies. As part of this movement, programmers will voluntarily share their code with the rest of the open source community as part of software development. This then allows anyone to use and modify this open source code. As part of the movement, it is understood that any modifications to the code are to be shared back within the community working on the software.
There is a wide range of open source technology that is widely available and commonly used. There are several popular applications that use open source software, such as the Firefox web browser or the wide range of Red Hat offerings. The Linux operating system is an open source program that is built on Linux kernels that are free and open source. Open source hardware utilizes open source software to create a product, such as those offered by Sparkfun. Cloud computing systems also have open source software offerings, most notably OpenStack.
Open source software has many benefits for businesses and organizations, such as: