Open Source Tools

Open source describes practices in production and development that promote access to the end product's source materials.

Some consider open source a philosophy, others consider it a pragmatic methodology. Before the term open source became widely adopted, developers and producers used a variety of phrases to describe the concept; open source gained hold with the rise of the Internet, and the attendant need for massive retooling of the computing source code.

Opening the source code enabled a self-enhancing diversity of production models, communication paths, and interactive communities. Subsequently, a new, three-word phrase "open source software" was born to describe the environment that the new copyright, licensing, domain, and consumer issues created.

The open source model includes the concept of concurrent yet different agendas and differing approaches in production, in contrast with more centralized models of development such as those typically used in commercial software companies.

A main principle and practice of open source software development is peer production by bartering and collaboration, with the end-product (and source-material) available at no cost to the public.

This is increasingly being applied in other fields of endeavor, such as biotechnology.