This section of the Tools-4-Teachers wiki will deal with open source software. There are several different types of open source software as well as many different applications. I will put the link to the application as well as a discription of the application in the dicussion page.

What is Open Source Software?

This type of software has its source code available under license that allows users to use, change, or improve the software. It also allows a user to distribute the software as is or with modifications. This does not mean that the software is unlicensed, but that the lincense allows for such things to take place. Many of the open souce software titles are covered by licenses like GNU General Public License, or OSI (Open Souce Initiative) Certified.

Some other terms people have used when talking about open source software are:
1. FOSS - free/open source software
2. FLOSS - free/libre/open source software

What are the different licensing agreements for Open Source Software?

There are many different licensing agreeements when you are dealing with opens source software. These leads to confusion and problems as people may not understand all the different agreements or have read all the way through each one.

Below are several different licensing agreements that are commonly used, linked to Wikipedia for more information on each one:
1. GNU General Public License
2. OSI Certified
3. Apache Licnese
4. MIT License
5. Eclipse Public License

Can I really use Open Source Software for free?

Yes, you can! There is one small thing to think about with the fact that it is free, you still need to follow the licensing lrestrictions, and the law. Many of the open source software licenses allow you to use the software for free. They also allow you to make changes to the software (add-ons, plug-ins, etc). Some of the licensing agreements ever allow you to distribute the software. One of the big things you cannot do is charge for the software.

Many people do not look at the software being free as the main reason to use open source software in the schools, they look at the ability to update and customize the software as needed as being the biggest fact. Having free software that you can customize as needed can be a huge help to almost any school.