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Chapter 2. Introduction_to_Free_and_Open_Source_Software

Greg DeKoenigsberg

Red Hat Community Architecture
2.1. Introduction
2.2. Why does FOSS matter to me?
2.2.1. Source Control
2.2.2. Build Systems
2.2.3. Documentation
2.2.4. Tracking Bugs
2.2.5. Experiencing the Software Lifecycle
2.2.6. Exercise - Finding a Cool Project
2.3. What is source code?
2.3.1. Exercise - Change the source code
2.3.2. Optional Exercise - Change the binary code
2.4. Source Code: To Share, or Not To Share?
2.4.1. The value of sharing
2.4.2. Exercise - List of software
2.4.3. Exercise - Compare and contrast similar proprietary and FOSS software
2.4.4. Exercise - Install a new FOSS Tool and Blog About It
2.5. Climbing Contributor Mountain
2.5.1. User
2.5.2. Seeker
2.5.3. Collaborator
2.5.4. Contributor
2.6. Building Your FOSS Portfolio
2.6.1. Exercise - Learn about a project's leaders
2.6.2. Exercise - Write your own FOSS bio
2.7. Supplemental Materials

2.1. Introduction

Free and Open Source Software, or FOSS for short, is software for which the source code can be freely shared, with anyone, for any purpose.
There are more rigorous definitions, and there are many licenses that help to ensure these freedoms in subtly different ways. We examine these details later in the book. For now, focus on this simple idea: the freedom to share source code is the essential element of free and open source software.
At the end of this chapter, you should:
  • Understand the difference between source code and binary code;
  • Understand some of the benefits of using FOSS;
  • Understand some of the benefits of participating in FOSS projects;
  • Have an idea of some FOSS projects that might interest you, and why;
  • Have the beginning of your own FOSS portfolio.