7.4 Open-source development

Open-source development is an approach to software development in which the source code of a software system is published and volunteers are invited to participate in the development process (Raymond 2001). Its roots are in the Free Software Foundation (www.fsf.org), which advocates that source code should not be proprietary but rather should always be available for users to examine and modify as they wish. There was an assumption that the code would be controlled and developed by a small core group, rather than users of the code.

Open-source software extended this idea by using the Internet to recruit a much larger population of volunteer developers. Many of them are also users of the code. In principle at least, ...

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