What is Open Source?

Open Source generally refers to Open Source Software (OSS, sometimes FOSS or FLOSS, e.g.: Free and Libre). OSS is software that allows users to change the source code; including view, modify, learn from and share the source code with others.

OSS communities have thousands of users that contribute, collaborate, share, learn and teach various aspects of their projects. These users include programmers, graphic designers, subject matter experts, content creators and many other various contributors. This not only helps more communities to become involved, but allows more institutions to take advantage of this collaborative growth and benefit within their institution.

OSS is often mistaken for “freeware” or “shareware” programs. Those programs are normally designed to distribute software to others on a trial timed-basis (think all those AOL disks back in the day!), if you like it, you buy it. Most of the time freeware or shareware software are closed-source (proprietary) so you can’t see the source code or change the program to fit your needs. Some “freeware” may even come with viruses that let others have access to personal data.

OSS is Free as in Price, and more importantly, Free as in Freedom. A user is free to view the code, change it and give it to others. This freedom creates possibility, innovation, and collaboration. This is exactly what learnOPENtech seeks to promote; to help teach others the Open Source Mindset to increase educational achievement regardless of economic ability by encouraging all children, parents, and teachers to actively engage in learning and offering opportunities for engagement with technology that is not limited by closed or restrictive licenses.

What is the Open Source Mindset?

The Open Source Mindset takes those concepts normally from Open Source Software, and applies it to all other walks of life. It is being mindful of how you use technology and other tools so that you are "Paying it Forward" to and for others not just in your local community, but around the globe as well.

Over the past 15 years, here is how the learnOPENtech, LLC co-founder summarizes the Open Source Mindset.

Three things I use my Open Source Mindset for:

  1. Learn something or experience something new every day. (a new fact, new word, drive a different way home from work, talk to a stranger, start learning a new skill, research the latest Open Source Software)
  2.  How can I impact someone's life today in a positive way? (compliment a stranger, pay for the person behind you, tip more than you normally would when you see someone go above and beyond - make sure they know you saw it and appreciated it, give them your undivided attention, be kind!)
  3. How can I do more & more, with less & less? In other words, How can I impact more people in my local area, as well as around the world daily? Can I do it by spending less money, time & resources? (this is a challenge and exercise of being more creative with YOUR time, knowledge and resources. The more creative you can be learning new skills and tools; e.g: Open Source Software. What you do can set in motion and be motivation for others to do the same. This is applying the Open Source Mindset)
BECK • CEO of learnOPENtech, LLC