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Open source vs. open standards

What's the difference between open source and open standards?

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Open source relates to actual open source software. It is software that is available freely through the Internet. Open source development is different from traditional development because a consensus and/or a consortium of developers in the open source community creates, maintains and supports the software. Apache and Linux are successful examples of open source products created in the open source development model.

Open source software is released with the source code, as it essentially treats its user base as co-developers, rather then customers. There are published guidelines widely available online that clearly describe all the "ground rules" for open source. Look for more information on the Open Source Initiative site.)

Open standards are publicly-available specifications that provide for a common method of achieving technology goals. Examples of open standards include HTML and SNMP. The use of open standards allows manufacturers to create products that can integrate and work together. In the days of yore, products were usually proprietary, and all sorts of tricks were required for hardware to communicate with one another. The acceptance of open standards allows technology to be used much more efficiently.

This was first published in October 2005

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