Is Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) part of OER?


Free and open-source software (FOSS) is computer software that can be classified as both free software and open-source software. That is, anyone is freely licensed to use, copy, study, and change the software in any way, and the source code is openly shared so that people are encouraged to voluntarily improve the design of the software. This is in contrast to proprietary software, where the software is under restrictive copyright and the source code is usually hidden from the users (Source). It is important to note that although FOSS is generally available at no cost, the definition of FOSS hinges on the availability of the source code and the freedom to use, modify, and redistribute it.

As FOSS empowers you to use, copy, study and change the software in any way, when it is used in teaching and learning contexts it falls within the parameters of common OER definitions (see the Table below). As such, FOSS can be considered within the range of types of OER.

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OER, FOSS, free, open source, software, reuse, remix, redistribute