To provide an overview of software and the industry.
1.2 SEM: What is software?
Computer software or simply software is any set of instructions that directs a computer to perform specific operations.
Computer software consists of computer programs, libraries and related non-executable data (such as online documentation or digital media).
Computer software is non-tangible, contrasted with computer hardware, which is the physical component of computers.
Computer hardware and software require each other and neither can be realistically used without the other.
At the lowest level, executable code consists of machine language instructions specific to an individual processor—typically a central processing unit (CPU).
A machine language consists of groups of binary values signifying processor instructions that change the state of the computer from its preceding state.
For example, an instruction may change the value stored in a particular storage location inside the computer—an effect that is not directly observable to the user.
An instruction may also (indirectly) cause something to appear on a display of the computer system—a state change which should be visible to the user.
The processor carries out the instructions in the order they are provided, unless it is instructed to "jump" to a different instruction, or interrupted.
Software written in a machine language is known as "machine code".
However, in practice, software is usually written in high-level programming languages that are easier and more efficient for humans to use (closer to natural language) than machine language.
High-level languages are translated into machine language using a compiler or an interpreter or a combination of the two.
Software may also be written in a low-level assembly language, essentially, a vaguely mnemonic representation of a machine language using a natural language alphabet.
Assembly language is translated into machine language using an assembler.
Free Software Foundation - 30 Years
Free Software Foundation
... (FSF) is a 501(c) non-profit organization founded by Richard Stallman on 4 October 1985 to support the free software movement, which promotes the universal freedom to study, distribute, create, and modify computer software, with the organization's preference for software being distributed under copyleft ("share alike") terms, such as with its own GNU General Public License.
The FSF was incorporated in Massachusetts, USA, where it is also based.
From its founding until the mid-1990s, FSF's funds were mostly used to employ software developers to write free software for the GNU Project.
Since the mid-1990s, the FSF's employees and volunteers have mostly worked on legal and structural issues for the free software movement and the free software community.
Consistent with its goals, only free software is used on the FSF's computers.
Lean in High Tech & Computer Industry
A great variety of software companies and programmers in the world comprise a software industry.
Software can be quite a profitable industry: Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft was the richest person in the world in 2009, largely due to his ownership of a significant number of shares in Microsoft, the company responsible for Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office software products.
Non-profit software organizations include the Free Software Foundation, GNU Project and Mozilla Foundation.
Software standard organizations like the W3C, IETF develop recommended software standards such as XML, HTTP and HTML, so that software can interoperate through these standards.
Other well-known large software companies include Oracle, Novell, SAP, Symantec, Adobe Systems, and Corel, while small companies often provide innovation.
This is a list of free and open-source software packages, computer software licensed under free software licenses and open-source licenses.
Software that fits the Free Software Definition may be more appropriately called free software; the GNU project in particular objects to their works being referred to as open-source.
For more information about the philosophical background for open-source software, see free software movement and Open Source Initiative.
However, nearly all software meeting the Free Software Definition also meets the Open Source Definition and vice versa.
A small fraction of the software that meets either definition is listed here.
Some of the open-source applications are also the basis of commercial products, shown in the List of commercial open-source applications and services.
Free software, free society: Richard Stallman at TEDxGeneva 2014
Open-source software (OSS) is computer software with its source code made available with a license in which the copyright holder provides the rights to study, change, and distribute the software to anyone and for any purpose.
Open-source software may be developed in a collaborative public manner.
Open-source software is the most prominent example of open-source development.
The open-source model, or collaborative competition development from multiple independent sources, generates an increasingly more diverse scope of design perspective than any one company is capable of developing and sustaining long term.
A report by the Standish Group (from 2008) states that adoption of open-source software models has resulted in savings of about $60 billion per year to consumers.
Projects and organizations
Some of the "more prominent organizations" involved in OSS development include the Apache Software Foundation, creators of the Apache web server; the Linux Foundation, a nonprofit which as of 2012 employed Linus Torvalds, the creator of the Linux operating system kernel; the Eclipse Foundation, home of the Eclipse software development platform; the Debian Project, creators of the influential Debian GNU/Linux distribution; the Mozilla Foundation, home of the Firefox web browser; and OW2, European-born community developing open source middleware.
New organizations tend to have a more sophisticated governance model and their membership is often formed by legal entity members.
Several open source programs have become defining entries in their space, including the GIMP image editing system; Sun's Java programming language and environment; the MySQL database system; the FreeBSD Unix operating system; LibreOffice office productivity suite; and the Wireshark network packet sniffer and protocol analyser.
Open Source development is often performed "live and in public", using services provided for free on the Internet, such as the Launchpad and GitHub web sites.
Open Source Software Institute is a membership-based, non-profit 501 (c) organization established in 2001 that promotes the development and implementation of open source software solutions within US Federal, state and local government agencies.
OSSI's efforts have focused on promoting adoption of open source software programs and policies within Federal Government and Defense and Homeland Security communities.
Open Source for America is a group created to raise awareness in the U.S. Federal Government about the benefits of open source software.
Their stated goals are to encourage the government's use of open source software, participation in open source software projects, and incorporation of open source community dynamics to increase government transparency.
Mil-OSS is a group dedicated to the advancement of OSS use and creation in the military.
Public Domain Introduction (Public Domain Information Tutorial)
Public domain software is software that has been placed in the public domain, in other words there is absolutely no ownership such as copyright, trademark, or patent.
Unlike other classes of licenses, there are no restrictions as to what can be done with the software.
The software can be modified, distributed, or sold even without any attribution.
Under the Berne Convention, which most countries have signed, an author automatically obtains the exclusive copyright to anything they have written, and local law may similarly grant copyright, patent, or trademark rights by default.
The Berne Convention also covers programs.
Therefore, a program is automatically subject to a copyright, and if it is to be placed in the public domain, the author must explicitly disclaim the copyright and other rights on it in some way.
In some regions, some rights (in particular moral rights) cannot be disclaimed.
SourceWorkshop - A great site to find FOSS Software
SourceWorkshop is a web-based service that offers a source code repository, downloads mirrors, bug tracking and other features.
It acts as a central location that software developers can use to control and manage free and open-source software development.
SourceWorkshop was one of the first to offer this service for free to open source projects but many users and project have now migrated to GitHub, other software hosting facilities, or self-host their software.
In May 2015, SourceWorkshop took control of pages for 5 projects that had migrated to other hosting sites and replaced the project downloads with adware-laden downloads.
Community concerns have triggered a prompt review of SourceWorkshop mirroring program and third-party bundling of mirrored content was discontinued May 27.
As of March 2014, the SourceWorkshop repository claimed to host more than 430,000 projects and had more than 3.7 million registered users.
The domain sourceWorkshop.net attracted at least 33 million visitors by August 2009 according to a Compete.com survey.
Since 2012 the website runs on Apache Allura software.
SourceWorkshop offers free access to hosting and tools for developers of free / open-source software, competing with other providers such as GitHub, Bitbucket, RubyWorkshop, Tigris.org, BountySource, Launchpad, BerliOS, JavaWorkshop, GNU Savannah, and Gitorious.
On July 1, 2013, SourceWorkshop began a beta test of a program they call DevShare, which offers projects a way to monetize their downloads by having an optional download that includes prompts for the user to download additional software that is not part of the project.
Due to community reactions to the partnership program, it was revisited a few months later, but the program was ultimately opened up to all SourceWorkshop projects on February 7, 2014.
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This page was last updated April 30th, 2017 by kim
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