How Open Source Works
Although software is not the only product governed by a open source licenses, it is the most popular, lending itself well to manipulation of its code and add-ons. Open source provides a transparent platform upon which anyone with the skills to do so can add to the development and production of the software either for release as a new incarnation of the software for others to use or for strictly in-house development only.
One issue that has come up repeatedly in open source has to do with the copyrights assigned to the original software and any modifications made to it. As outlined in most open source license agreements, ownership of the software can never transfer to anyone who modifies the software. This usually makes it impossible for a developer to take open source software, modify it, and then sell it.
Most money made from open source software comes in the form of support for the software technology and its many additions, add-ons, and modifications that often ensue. Although most open source software is available to download free, license remains with the original creator of the software and does not transfer to anyone regardless of any modifications, improvements, or add-ons made to the open source software. Although free to download, the software is not free in the sense that the end user can do whatever he/she wants to it including selling it.
Open source technology has spawned an open source culture among programmers and developers who embrace the open source philosophy. Many open source initiatives begin to spite the large corporations who dominate the markets with expensive, complicated, and over-commercialized software. In fact, many Linux developers are committed to producing software that rivals or even surpasses the flexibility and compatibility of such software giants as Microsoft, Apple, and IBM.