What is Open Source?
Open source refers to source code that is made available to all for modification and redistribution. Using an open-source model encourages collaboration and can improve upon or add to base code. Usually, open-source code consists of permission to use the source code, documents to understand the design and concept, blueprints, and the content itself. Open-source code gives users more control over their software as they can inspect it to be sure it is behaving how they would wish it to, or if not, make suitable changes, from which others can then take advantage. This makes the software more secure and errors or potential security issues can be spotted and fixed, to the benefit of all. Open source promotes collaboration, as any changes to the original code can in turn be used by others in their own projects.
Free vs open source
Free software and open-source software are similar, but the terms are usually separated depending on how the creator intends the software to be used—and therefore, sometimes cause confusion.
You will usually find that those that use the term “open-source software” give the user the implication that it is to be built upon and modified to the users’ needs and requirements. It’s almost like a base level for a larger project or piece of software. Whereas the term “free software” could either be software that is free to use and modify just as open-source software would, or it could be free software that is licenced and closed source. This will likely be made clear when accessing said software.