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Title: Open Source Software: The Future Ahead
Authors: Chindalia, Sanjanaa
Keywords: Open source software;Copyright law;GNU GPL;Copyleft;Free Software Foundation
Issue Date: May-2008
Publisher: CSIR
Abstract: The proliferation of computer technology and advent of Internet have created many new relationships and problems that raise questions about traditional legal and economic principles. The development of ‘open-source software’ is an example of this phenomenon.1 Open source software is one, where the source code is available and the user can modify the software to suit his needs. Though the open-source software industry has not completely replaced the conventional software industry, there has been a considerable invasion into its space. The entire discourse is centred around innovation and growth on the one hand and proprietary rights on the other. The object of this article is to understand open source software, by analysing the manner in which it uses principles of copyright law to provide free access to software. Further, it also looks into the implications of such a movement on software programming. The article divided into four parts, traces the history of the movement, thereby understanding the concept of open source software. This part also looks into the paradoxical situation whereby norms of copyright law have been used as ‘copyleft’ to counter the impediments put forward by copyright law. The second part of the article discusses increasingly important role played by the open source software in the development and dissemination of software programs. The third part discusses the long-term implications of this movement on the software industry and thereby restricting to the most famous open source license i.e. GNU GPL. The last section contains concluding remarks.
Page(s): 218-224
ISSN: 0971-5544
Appears in Collections:JIPR Vol.13(3) [May 2008]

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