What are Open Technologies?
"Open technologies" is an umbrella term that includes open source software, open standards, and open hardware. Distribution terms of open source software must comply with the following criteria:
Redistribution of software is free
- The source code is included
The license allows for modifications and derived works
The integrity of the author's source code is maintained
There is no discrimination against persons or groups
There is no discrimination against fields of endeavor
The rights attached to the program apply to all to whom the program is redistributed
Licenses are not be specific to a product
Licenses are not restrict other software
Licenses are technology-neutral
Open Source Software
Usually open source software is distributed for free, although vendors can charge for their versions of open software and for technical support. Changes to open source code remain "open" even through subsequent redistribution. Open source software is different from "public domain" software, whose copyright is held by the public. Open source is also different from "freeware" or "shareware," which are applications that are distributed in some form for free but whose source code is held by the author and cannot be freely changed or redistributed. Most users of open source software, such as Linux or Open Office, rarely touch the source code; instead they use the compiled final open source application.
Open standards refer to the conventions and rules for interoperability and data exchange. These standards are established by widely recognized standards bodies such as the Schools Interoperability Framework Association (SIFA), the IMS Global Learning Consortium, Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL), and Sharable Content Object Reference Model (SCORM). Standards provide specific methods for connecting, tagging, and exchanging information. Additionally, open standards such as HTML have provided the genesis of our current network environment: the Internet. Open source software may be -- but is not required to be -- open-standards compliant.
School technology leaders must examine all software including open source and proprietary systems to determine if they are open-standards compliant and if they are relevant to their needs for data exchange.
Open hardware refers to computers and other devices that run open-standards-based software. Examples include products such as the Nokia 770 Internet Tablet, which relies on a Linux-based tablet operating system, and new routers using XORP, the eXtensible Open Router Platform.