How is Open Source Software (OSS) different from OER?


Open Source Software (OSS) software 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. This is in contrast to proprietary software, where the software is under restrictive copyright and the source code is usually hidden from the users. OSS may be developed in a collaborative public manner and is commonly available free of cost (Source).

Although OER explicitly refers to teaching and learning materials and OSS refers to software, these two concepts share the principles of unfettered use and community-based creation and reuse. Moreover, OSS is frequently used in educational contexts (e.g., the Moodle learning management system and the statistical computing software known as “R”). OER repositories like OpenStax CNX and open textbook authoring tools like Pressbooks are also based on OSS.

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