Free And Open Source Software Month

The month of February might be known for the holidays Valentine’s Day, Lincoln’s Birthday, and Susan B. Anthony’s Birthday, but this month is also celebrated as Free & Open Source Software Month—a month that recognizes open-source software.

This type of software has code that anyone can inspect, fine-tune, and modify to fit their needs. This is in contrast to proprietary (also known as closed-source) software that cannot be altered by the user. Open source gives people more control over their software.

They can look at it, and if there’s anything they don’t like, it can be changed. This allows the community to improve the end product, too. And that’s why open-source is used by universities, administrators, and even governments all around the world.

The History of Free & Open Source Software Month

This month was first created in 2016 by Onyx Point Incorporated. They created the month to highlight the core principles of open-source software that allow software development to advance free of the bureaucracy that might have hindered closed-source software development.

Some Amazing Facts About Free & Open Source Software

To put a finer point on the history and use of free and open-source software, we thought we’d list some facts about it below. We believe that most people will find the following facts quite informative as they consider whether or not they want to observe this month.

Open-Source Sharing Wasn’t New to Software Development

Although most people think of software when they think of open-source, the concept behind it actually started long before modern computers were even invented. The Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association launched an open-source initiative that allowed U.S. automobile manufacturers to share technology with one another.

The Term “Open Source” Was Coined in the 1990s

In 1998, the release of Navigator’s source code introduced the term “open-source.” It was then promoted heavily over the next week and has been popular ever since.

Open-Source Allows for a More Secure Product

Although there is a myth that open-source software is easier to hack because its code is readily available, the truth is that it usually turns out to be more secure. That’s because the eyes of more developers are on the code, which allows security holes in the final product to be more quickly patched.

Observing Free & Open Source Software Month

This month can be observed simply by taking the time to use some free or open-source software. Some fine examples of this type of software include Linux, Audacity, GIMP, VLC Media Player, and Apache OpenOffice. People can also spread the word about this month using the hashtag #FOSSMonth on social media to encourage others to use free and open-source software.

When is it?
This year (2024)
February 1 Thursday
Next year (2025)
February 1 Saturday
Last year (2023)
February 1 Wednesday
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