[Home]Open Source Definition

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The Open Source Definition is used by the Open Source Initiative to determine whether or not a software license can be considered open source. The definition was based on the [Debian Free Software Guidelines]?, adapted primarily by Bruce Perens.
The Open Source Definition
Version 1.8

Open source doesn't just mean access to the source code. The distribution 
terms of open-source software must comply with the following criteria:

1. Free Redistribution
The license shall not restrict any party from selling or giving away the
software as a component of an aggregate software distribution containing
programs from several different sources. The license shall not require a
royalty or other fee for such sale.

2. Source Code
The program must include source code, and must allow distribution in source 
code as well as compiled form. Where some form of a product is not 
distributed with source code, there must be a well-publicized means of 
obtaining the source code for no more than a reasonable reproduction cost 
preferably, downloading via the Internet without charge.  The source code 
must be the preferred form in which a programmer would modify the program. 
Deliberately obfuscated source code is not allowed. Intermediate forms such 
as the output of a preprocessor or translator are not allowed.

3. Derived Works
The license must allow modifications and derived works, and must allow
them to be distributed under the same terms as the license of the original

4. Integrity of The Author's Source Code
The license may restrict source-code from being distributed in modified
form only if the license allows the distribution of "patch files" with
the source code for the purpose of modifying the program at build time.
The license must explicitly permit distribution of software built from
modified source code. The license may require derived works to carry a
different name or version number from the original software.

5. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups
The license must not discriminate against any person or group of persons.

6. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor
The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the program in
a specific field of endeavor. For example, it may not restrict the program
from being used in a business, or from being used for genetic research.

7. Distribution of License
The rights attached to the program must apply to all to whom the program
is redistributed without the need for execution of an additional license
by those parties.

8. License Must Not Be Specific to a Product
The rights attached to the program must not depend on the program's being
part of a particular software distribution. If the program is extracted
from that distribution and used or distributed within the terms of the
program's license, all parties to whom the program is redistributed should
have the same rights as those that are granted in conjunction with the
original software distribution.

9. License Must Not Contaminate Other Software
The license must not place restrictions on other software that is distributed
along with the licensed software. For example, the license must not insist
that all other programs distributed on the same medium must be open-source

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Last edited June 25, 2001 8:11 am by Stephen Gilbert (diff)