[oh-puhn-sawrs, -sohrs]
Computers. pertaining to or denoting software whose source code is available free of charge to the public to use, copy, modify, sublicense, or distribute.
pertaining to or denoting a product or system whose origins, formula, design, etc., are freely accessible to the public. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To open source
World English Dictionary
open source
a.  intellectual property, esp computer source code, that is made freely available to the general public by its creators
 b.  Compare closed source (as modifier): open source software

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Science Dictionary
Relating to source code that is available to the public without charge. Open-source code is often enhanced, improved, and adapted for specific purposes by interested programmers, with the revised versions of the code are made available to the public. For example, most of the code in the Linux operating system is open-source.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
Cite This Source
Computing Dictionary

open source definition

philosophy, legal
A method and philosophy for software licensing and distribution designed to encourage use and improvement of software written by volunteers by ensuring that anyone can copy the source code and modify it freely.
The term "open source" is now more widely used than the earlier term "free software" (promoted by the Free Software Foundation) but has broadly the same meaning - free of distribution restrictions, not necessarily free of charge.
There are various open source licenses available. Programmers can choose an appropriate license to use when distributing their programs.
The Open Source Initiative promotes the Open Source Definition.
The Cathedral and the Bazaar ( was a seminal paper describing the open source phenomenon.
Open Sources - O'Reilly book with full text online (
Articles from ZDNet (
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Britannica

open source

social movement, begun by computer programmers, that rejects secrecy and centralized control of creative work in favour of decentralization, transparency, and unrestricted ("open") sharing of information. Source refers to the human-readable source code of computer programs, as opposed to the compiled computer programming language instructions, or object code, that run on computers but cannot be easily understood or modified by people

Learn more about open source with a free trial on

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
It comes with open source that allows engineers to close down or secure ports.
It's a free, open source program available for download, and users can specify
  a location and time for their skyward observations.
Physics is outdated and does not work in today's open source environment.
In the end the open source does not avoid anything on the contrary it even
  fuels the process.
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature