O is for Open Source
90% of the Cozy Cloud platform is open source, which is great news.
But what does it mean?
Software is a long series of instructions that are given to a computer, which executes them. Computers (and smartphones, which are only a particular type of computer) are not smart. They cannot do anything until they have been given software that tells them exactly what to do and in what order.
Open-source or proprietary?
Software can be either open-source or proprietary. Proprietary software means that the user (you) does not have the right to modify the software. Only the software’s designer (its owner) has that right.
Open-source software means that users are allowed to look up the instructions that compose it, modify them, and share them. There are two equivalent terms: “free software” and “open-source software.” The disadvantage of “free software” is that it may be confused with “free” (no cost), but it does highlight the user’s freedom to understand what the software does, how it does it, and how it can be adapted and evolve.
Open-source software offers a huge advantage over proprietary software:
* For one thing, the user is much less dependent on the software’s author, who could decide to increase the price or remove a useful feature.
* In addition, while proprietary software is a “black box” (we cannot know what it does with our data, since we cannot see the instructions it contains), open-source software offers transparency that invites trust.
For these reasons, we decided from the outset that our software would be open-source: so that our users can trust us, and because we believe that open-source software is more ethical than proprietary software.
We believe in the slogan “free software for a free society!”