Glossary

By David F. Carr  |  Posted 2003-07-01 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Shorthand for Linux-Apache-MySQL-and (your choice of) Perl, Python or PHP.

: Getting To Know Open Source"> Glossary: Getting To Know Open Source

One of the first obstacles in getting comfortable with open source is the terminology. If your company wants to write or sell software based on open-source code, make sure everyone is speaking the same language.

Kernel
The heart of an operating system (OS); manages memory, processes, etc. Linux is actually a kernel, though it comes packaged with code that qualifies it as an OS.

GNU
A recursive acronym: "GNU's Not Unix." The code whose presence makes a kernel an OS. GNU components round out the Linux system; GNU has its own kernel as well.

Free Software
In open source, "free" means "freely available," not "without cost." Equal access to source code was first advocated by the Free Software Foundation, begun in 1983.

Open Source
When lowercase, open source usually refers to freely available code that is developed collaboratively by volunteers. Capitalized, Open Source is a certification from the nonprofit Open Source Initiative.

GNU Public License
The GPL, which governs the Linux kernel, is the most frequently used open-source license. It requires that any modifications to the source be shared.

Source: Adapted by Baseline research from The Business and Economics of Linux and Open Source (Martin Fink; ISBN: 0-13-047677-3; Prentice Hall PTR 2003)


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David F. Carr David F. Carr is the Technology Editor for Baseline Magazine, a Ziff Davis publication focused on information technology and its management, with an emphasis on measurable, bottom-line results. He wrote two of Baseline's cover stories focused on the role of technology in disaster recovery, one focused on the response to the tsunami in Indonesia and another on the City of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.David has been the author or co-author of many Baseline Case Dissections on corporate technology successes and failures (such as the role of Kmart's inept supply chain implementation in its decline versus Wal-Mart or the successful use of technology to create new market opportunities for office furniture maker Herman Miller). He has also written about the FAA's halting attempts to modernize air traffic control, and in 2003 he traveled to Sierra Leone and Liberia to report on the role of technology in United Nations peacekeeping.David joined Baseline prior to the launch of the magazine in 2001 and helped define popular elements of the magazine such as Gotcha!, which offers cautionary tales about technology pitfalls and how to avoid them.
 
 
 
 
 
 

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