Open Source Software

What does “Open Source” mean?

Open-source software (OSS) is computer software with its source code made available with a license in which the copyright holder provides the rights to study, change, and distribute the software to anyone and for any purpose Open-source software may be developed in a collaborative public manner. According to
scientists who studied it, open-source software is a prominent example of open collaboration. The term is often written without a hyphen as “open source software”. Open-source software development, or collaborative development from multiple independent sources, generates an increasingly more diverse scope of design perspective than any one company is capable of developing and sustaining long term. A 2008 report by the Standish Group states that adoption of open-source software models has resulted in savings of about $60 billion (£48 billion) per year to consumers. [Taken from Wikipedia]

Some examples of open source software you might already be making use of:


HandBrake is a free and open-source transcoder for digital video files, originally developed in 2003 by Eric Petit to make ripping a film from a DVD to a data storage device easier. Since then, it has undergone many changes and revisions. HandBrake is available for Linux, MacOS, and Windows. It can be used to rip video off DVD’s to play them from a USB drive in the big screen TV. Current version is 107, and may be downloaded from


VLC media player (commonly known as VLC) is a free and open-source, portable and cross-platform media player and streaming media server developed by the VideoLAN project. VLC is available for desktop operating systems and mobile platforms. This player will cope with most formats, can be used to download video and audio from the internet, change formats, and can even be used as a screen recorder. This is very capable software; that version 30 due out shortly will be able to cast via Chromecast. Get it here


LibreOffice is a free and open source office suite, a project of The Document Foundation It has been around for many years in several incarnations, but the current one dates from 2010. It has a very
active community and dedicated developers, and is continually undergoing improvements. Luckily they have not included the ribbon interface disliked by many Microsoft Word users. The programmes are able to read and write in a numbers of formats, including those used by Microsoft programmes. Lots of people have used this suite for years, and the news is the next version will be able to save in epub format, the open source ebook format.
Download it here

[Source =  SeniorNet Otago Newsletter]


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