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CMS(Content Management System) : Open Source Software

Published on 14 December 16
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Therefore, it is very important to define the term free software, because the concept itself is ambiguous. A wide range of software is distributed as free because it does not cost anything to download or use. However the source code is not made available or the software is distributed with a restrictive license. Binary or source code distributions could be copyrighted and covered by a license agreement, which could hold a range of few to extreme restrictions, like a disclaimer of reliability.

CMS(Content Management System) : Open Source Software - Image 1

Free software is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of free as in free speech, not
as in free beer.

– Free Software Foundation (FSF 2004)

  • The freedom to run the program, for any purpose.
  • The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
  • The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbour.
  • The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.

Restrictions on these ‘free’ software come with licenses which; prohibit its use or require a fee for commercial user, prohibit or limit redistribution, including redistributing modified versions. Some licenses also require redistribution of derived works to use the same license as the original product or even release the modified source code. A few licenses also discriminate against individuals or groups.
The term free software is widely used in the Information Technology industry. However, its ambiguity hampers communication due to arguments over whether a particular piece of software is ‘free’ or not (OSI 2004).

The Open Source Model:

Free software and more specifically with open source software, also known as OSS, which deal with content management. Based on the clear definition of free software it is now possible to clearly define what open source software is, what it means for businesses and how open source software can be used effectively within a commercial environment.

CMS(Content Management System) : Open Source Software - Image 2

Although open source software, by definition, means the source code is publicly available, it also means the source code is distributed under a license, which falls under the criteria imposed by the OSI (2004). Once a piece of software is distributed with its source code and an OSI approved license, it is then accepted as open source software. Distribution of the source code is not an absolute requirement, it depends on the type of open source license.

Table shows the different types of licenses and how they exist as free software (Chao-Kuei 2004).

Open source software is sometimes perceived as public domain. This is a common misconception because public domain software is unlicensed. Open source software is copyrighted and comes with a license, whereas public domain software have their copyrights released by the author and distributed without a license.

Public domain software can be re-licensed by anyone, which removes it from the public domain, or re-branded under a different author (Perens 1997). Although open source software is widely regarded as free for all uses and purposes, however some open source software is restrictive. There are a wide range of OSI approved licenses which may pose various restrictions on the source code. Still, OSI approved licenses are much more open than other 3rd party licenses due to the fact that OSI upholds strict guidelines for approving a license. Sections 3.2.1 to 3.2.10 are the ten basic criteria for
OSI approved licenses. Followed by section 3.3 which gives examples of open source software and their licenses.

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 (OSI 2004).

By ensuring free redistribution, open source software is not hampered by short-term gains which would affect real long-term sales from customised versions of the software or contracted support and maintenance. Thus, a supplier may generate copies of the software and sell them or give them away without paying anyone for that privilege. As a result, many open source software can be bought on CD or DVD by paying for the cost of the medium only, since the supplier is not adding any extra costs.

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-publicised means of obtaining the source code for no more than a reasonable reproduction costpreferably, 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 (OSI 2004).

To evolve and expand open source software, the source code must be available and in a modifiable state. The original or modified source code is then provided along with the software and any derived works, in order to ensure future repair or modifications.

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 software (OSI 2004).
Future software updates and maintenance of the distributed source code, as seen in section 3.2.2, has no real use if the modified software cannot be distributed. Therefore, the ability to simply modify the source code is not enough to support independent peer review and rapid evolutionary selection. Instead, it should be possible to redistribute the modified software along with the modified source code.
Redistributed software can use the same license terms as the original software. Although this is not a requirement to do so but an option at the hands of the distributor. This requirement means; a license may not allow re-licensing or modification of its terms, or may allow re-licensing and sub-licensing of derived works.

An example of restricted licensing is the GNU General Public License (GPL) and an example of unrestricted licensing is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) license, which is also known as the Expat license. The GPL license is listed in appendix D and the MIT license is listed under appendix F.

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 (OSI 2004).

In some cases the author may not want modified versions of the software to be distributed as an original copy. Therefore, a license may restrict source code from been distributed in modified form, but allow derived works to include patch files which modify the original source code at compile time. Patch files are usually text files generated by diff and applied by patch
utility commands.

5. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups:

The license must not discriminate against any person or group of persons (OSI 2004).
Following in the steps of anti-discrimination laws, open source licenses do not enforce any discrimination against persons or groups of persons. Historically, the license provided by the Regents of the University of California, Berkeley, would prohibit licensed software from been used by the police of South Africa. This restriction was based around the apartheid era, which at this moment no longer applies (Perens 1997). Open source licenses are prohibited from having discrimination restrictions, even commendable ones.

6. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavour:

The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the program in a specific field of endeavour. For example, it may not restrict the program from being used in a business, or from being used for genetic research (OSI 2004).
Primarily, this clause does not allow open source licenses from preventing commercial uses of the licenses themselves or the software they protect. In addition, restrictions against fields of endeavour mean that software should be usable in an abortion clinic or by an anti-abortion organisation (Perens 1997).

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 (OSI 2004).
Open source licenses should not contain limitations or restrictions for closing the software by indirect means, like a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). Also, the license itself is considered automatic and no signature is required for its validity. Both parties are under the similar terms of Pacta Sunt Servanda, a basic principle of civil law and of international law.

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 (OSI 2004).Web Design Bangalore
An open source licensed software is not restricted to a particular Linux distribution or particular operating system. Software distributed with one distribution should remain free if moved to another distribution or operating system.

9. License Must Not Restrict 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 software (OSI 2004).
To protect software distributors, open source software should not limit how the software is distributed. For example, a particular software which uses open source libraries does not inherit the license used by those libraries. In addition, the distribution of open source software may not be restricted from being distributed along with commercial software.

10. License Must be Technology-Neutral:

No provision of the license may be predicated on any individual technology or style of interface (OSI 2004).

This clause prevents licenses, which require an explicit gesture of assent in order to establish a contract between licensor and licensee, from using indirect means of limiting open source software. Especially, software distributed under click-wrap technologies must allow for re-distribution over non-web methods or distribution paths that do not support click-wrapping.
Click-wrap typically consists of a pop-up dialog with a license or a payment submission form. The user is required to indicate the acceptance of the terms and provisions before proceeding with any further downloads. Clickwrap agreements are usually presented in a dialog window with an I Agree button.
Non-GUI environments which do not support pop-up dialogs should not be restricted in any way. This provision should also prevent scams which request money for the distribution of free software.

Therefore, it is very important to define the term free software, because the concept itself is ambiguous. A wide range of software is distributed as free because it does not cost anything to download or use. However the source code is not made available or the software is distributed with a restrictive license. Binary or source code distributions could be copyrighted and covered by a license agreement, which could hold a range of few to extreme restrictions, like a disclaimer of reliability.

CMS(Content Management System) : Open Source Software - Image 1


Free software is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of free as in free speech, not
as in free beer.

– Free Software Foundation (FSF 2004)

  • The freedom to run the program, for any purpose.
  • The freedom to study how the program works, and adapt it to your needs. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
  • The freedom to redistribute copies so you can help your neighbour.
  • The freedom to improve the program, and release your improvements to the public, so that the whole community benefits. Access to the source code is a precondition for this.
Restrictions on these ‘free’ software come with licenses which; prohibit its use or require a fee for commercial user, prohibit or limit redistribution, including redistributing modified versions. Some licenses also require redistribution of derived works to use the same license as the original product or even release the modified source code. A few licenses also discriminate against individuals or groups.
The term free software is widely used in the Information Technology industry. However, its ambiguity hampers communication due to arguments over whether a particular piece of software is ‘free’ or not (OSI 2004).

The Open Source Model:

Free software and more specifically with open source software, also known as OSS, which deal with content management. Based on the clear definition of free software it is now possible to clearly define what open source software is, what it means for businesses and how open source software can be used effectively within a commercial environment.

CMS(Content Management System) : Open Source Software - Image 2

Although open source software, by definition, means the source code is publicly available, it also means the source code is distributed under a license, which falls under the criteria imposed by the OSI (2004). Once a piece of software is distributed with its source code and an OSI approved license, it is then accepted as open source software. Distribution of the source code is not an absolute requirement, it depends on the type of open source license.

Table shows the different types of licenses and how they exist as free software (Chao-Kuei 2004).

Open source software is sometimes perceived as public domain. This is a common misconception because public domain software is unlicensed. Open source software is copyrighted and comes with a license, whereas public domain software have their copyrights released by the author and distributed without a license.

Public domain software can be re-licensed by anyone, which removes it from the public domain, or re-branded under a different author (Perens 1997). Although open source software is widely regarded as free for all uses and purposes, however some open source software is restrictive. There are a wide range of OSI approved licenses which may pose various restrictions on the source code. Still, OSI approved licenses are much more open than other 3rd party licenses due to the fact that OSI upholds strict guidelines for approving a license. Sections 3.2.1 to 3.2.10 are the ten basic criteria for
OSI approved licenses. Followed by section 3.3 which gives examples of open source software and their licenses.

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 (OSI 2004).

By ensuring free redistribution, open source software is not hampered by short-term gains which would affect real long-term sales from customised versions of the software or contracted support and maintenance. Thus, a supplier may generate copies of the software and sell them or give them away without paying anyone for that privilege. As a result, many open source software can be bought on CD or DVD by paying for the cost of the medium only, since the supplier is not adding any extra costs.

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-publicised means of obtaining the source code for no more than a reasonable reproduction costpreferably, 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 (OSI 2004).

To evolve and expand open source software, the source code must be available and in a modifiable state. The original or modified source code is then provided along with the software and any derived works, in order to ensure future repair or modifications.

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 software (OSI 2004).
Future software updates and maintenance of the distributed source code, as seen in section 3.2.2, has no real use if the modified software cannot be distributed. Therefore, the ability to simply modify the source code is not enough to support independent peer review and rapid evolutionary selection. Instead, it should be possible to redistribute the modified software along with the modified source code.
Redistributed software can use the same license terms as the original software. Although this is not a requirement to do so but an option at the hands of the distributor. This requirement means; a license may not allow re-licensing or modification of its terms, or may allow re-licensing and sub-licensing of derived works.

An example of restricted licensing is the GNU General Public License (GPL) and an example of unrestricted licensing is the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) license, which is also known as the Expat license. The GPL license is listed in appendix D and the MIT license is listed under appendix F.

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 (OSI 2004).

In some cases the author may not want modified versions of the software to be distributed as an original copy. Therefore, a license may restrict source code from been distributed in modified form, but allow derived works to include patch files which modify the original source code at compile time. Patch files are usually text files generated by diff and applied by patch
utility commands.

5. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups:

The license must not discriminate against any person or group of persons (OSI 2004).
Following in the steps of anti-discrimination laws, open source licenses do not enforce any discrimination against persons or groups of persons. Historically, the license provided by the Regents of the University of California, Berkeley, would prohibit licensed software from been used by the police of South Africa. This restriction was based around the apartheid era, which at this moment no longer applies (Perens 1997). Open source licenses are prohibited from having discrimination restrictions, even commendable ones.

6. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavour:

The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the program in a specific field of endeavour. For example, it may not restrict the program from being used in a business, or from being used for genetic research (OSI 2004).
Primarily, this clause does not allow open source licenses from preventing commercial uses of the licenses themselves or the software they protect. In addition, restrictions against fields of endeavour mean that software should be usable in an abortion clinic or by an anti-abortion organisation (Perens 1997).

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 (OSI 2004).
Open source licenses should not contain limitations or restrictions for closing the software by indirect means, like a non-disclosure agreement (NDA). Also, the license itself is considered automatic and no signature is required for its validity. Both parties are under the similar terms of Pacta Sunt Servanda, a basic principle of civil law and of international law.

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 (OSI 2004).Web Design Bangalore
An open source licensed software is not restricted to a particular Linux distribution or particular operating system. Software distributed with one distribution should remain free if moved to another distribution or operating system.

9. License Must Not Restrict 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 software (OSI 2004).
To protect software distributors, open source software should not limit how the software is distributed. For example, a particular software which uses open source libraries does not inherit the license used by those libraries. In addition, the distribution of open source software may not be restricted from being distributed along with commercial software.

10. License Must be Technology-Neutral:

No provision of the license may be predicated on any individual technology or style of interface (OSI 2004).

This clause prevents licenses, which require an explicit gesture of assent in order to establish a contract between licensor and licensee, from using indirect means of limiting open source software. Especially, software distributed under click-wrap technologies must allow for re-distribution over non-web methods or distribution paths that do not support click-wrapping.
Click-wrap typically consists of a pop-up dialog with a license or a payment submission form. The user is required to indicate the acceptance of the terms and provisions before proceeding with any further downloads. Clickwrap agreements are usually presented in a dialog window with an I Agree button.
Non-GUI environments which do not support pop-up dialogs should not be restricted in any way. This provision should also prevent scams which request money for the distribution of free software.

This blog is listed under Open Source and Development & Implementations Community

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