The Open Source Definition

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"The Open Source Definition" is a document published by the Open Source Initiative, to determine whether a software license can be labeled with the open-source certification mark.[1]

The definition was based on the Debian Free Software Guidelines, written and adapted primarily by Bruce Perens.

The Free Software Definition versus The Open Source Definition[edit]

Despite the fundamental philosophical differences between the free software movement and the open source movement, the official definitions of free software by the Free Software Foundation and of open source software by the Open Source Initiative basically refer to the same software licenses, with a few minor exceptions. While stressing the philosophical differences, the Free Software Foundation comments:

The term “open source” software is used by some people to mean more or less the same category as free software. It is not exactly the same class of software: they accept some licenses that we consider too restrictive, and there are free software licenses they have not accepted. However, the differences in extension of the category are small: nearly all free software is open source, and nearly all open source software is free.

— Free Software Foundation,

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Eric S. Raymond. "Open Source Certification". Open Source Initiative. Retrieved 16 June 1999.  Check date values in: |access-date= (help)

External links[edit]