How to Judge Whether a Project Is Open Source?

Open Source
Open Source

In most cases, projects are divided into open source, closed source, and semi-open source projects that are not explicitly differentiated. So what sorts of projects are called open source projects? What kind of project is a closed source project? What is the actual difference between them? Let’s take a look together in this article:

What is a closed source?

This is a straightforward explanation: that software whose source code is not publicly available is called closed source software. Closed source provides the guarantee to the security and privacy of the source code. Therefore, if you want to work on such codes, you need to join the company providing the closed source project using NFT libraries or sign a confidentiality agreement to ensure that, in any case, the code will not be leaked.

Usually, closed source projects generally exist in commercial software, which can protect the organization’s trade secrets. Moreover, personal private projects are also called closed source projects. As per your convenience, you can select the corresponding privacy access level-Private while creating a project.

Closed source software plays a crucial role in guarding confidentiality and privacy. However, because of the limitation of the participating members, they cannot brainstorm like open-source projects. Therefore, the iteration speed of the project is usually slower than that of open source projects. In addition, it is precisely due to the small range of developers that the maintenance management and standardization of closed source projects will be less challenging than the open-source projects.

What is open source?

Open-source software is the primary manifestation of open source.  If you are reading this article, we believe you already have a basic understanding of open-source. Here, let’s look at the correct definition of open source: open source software is a technology-neutral stance and license constraints of open-source software.

In the case of open-source software, technology and stance neutrality require open-source software to treat all companies and individuals equally and maintain justice and fairness. On the other hand, the utilization of license constraints guarantees the rights of open source.

Of course, there are multiple detailed definitions of open source. The most influential of which is Debian Free Software Guidelines (DFSG) and the Open-source definition created by the Open Source Initiative. Among both, the latter is a derivative version of the former.

Why open-source application is necessary?

The presence of open source projects provides a huge bonus for inclusion. Despite the fact that, among others, programmers have a ridiculous myth of employers who completely do not care about open source projects as potential candidates, the situation is quite different.

Open-source projects usually provide a code, use NFT that is always easy to judge, see the history of changes, and as a result, easy to form an opinion of a potential candidate. You can immediately judge how a person writes code, how he thinks, and how he completes rewriting if he does at all. It just shows what human interests and views are beautiful.

What is a semi-open source?

The term “semi-open source” has never been formally defined, and it is not even clear when this term “semi-open source” was coined. Here we will list various common definitions of open source software (in no particular order).

  • Open-source software generally refers to the semi-open system core code, but not non-core open software code. For example, most people have a common notion that Android is a semi-open source system because its core is open source. However, the hardware drivers, Google services, and the applications created by various companies are not open sources.
  • Semi-open-source programs refer to the open-source software but do not open other function code. Although the source of such software is open, because of multiple reasons, there could be restrictions on its implementation, resulting in users not being able to use all the features of the program completely.
  • The semi-open source software is pretty much the same as the open-source license but did not use open-source software. The concept of the semi-open source is basically the same as the concept of “Source Available”.

Although there is not a single authoritative definition, we can summarize the properties of the semi-open source from the analysis of the above various definitions. It is similar to open-source code but does not use the open-source license or does not meet the requirement of open source users to a certain extent.

For all intents and purposes, there is no clear boundary between semi-open source and open source. Both are open-source code, but because of some reasons, open source users believe that the former is not completely open-source.

Other concepts

Free software (Free/Libre Software)

The difference between free software and open-source

Free software usually refers to software that meets the condition of open source and software that does not meet the open-source criteria. However, there are some philosophical deviations between these two statements. Therefore, when it comes to free programs, there are various debates and opinions involved.


This article explains closed source, open-source and semi-open source concepts to everyone and objectively analyzes their respective characteristics and features. If you want to protect the software privacy and a few people participate in the maintenance of the project, closed source software is more suitable for you. On the other hand, please select open-source decisively when you want to share your project and attract more people to manage it.

Although everyone may have different perspectives regarding semi-open sources, there is no clear demarcation line between it and open source. The interpretation of some viewpoints needs everyone to look at it rationally.

As a rule, sharing requires an open mind, and we hope that every developer will seek common ground while resolving differences and play a bit in the world of open source, leaving behind a strong and colorful stroke.

Also Read: What Are The Benefits Of Integrating Online Assessment Software?

About the Company

Open Weaver is a search engine for developers, contains various libraries, packages, code samples, APIs, and cloud functions, but it is different from GitHub, SourceForge, and Google Code. The unique selling point of Open Weaver is its functions that allow developers to choose from different software components across:

  • Packages from all package managers and repositories.
  • Source Code across all major code repositories.
  • Cloud Functions and APIs across all hyperscale cloud providers.


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