Open Source at Integreat

11. January 2019

Open Source is one of the basic principles of Integreat, which we are not only committed to, but all team members stand for. All software from the Integreat team is released under free open source licenses. These licenses give all users of the software the right to view, edit, and redistribute the program code. And all this at no cost.

Open Source – What is behind it?

But Open Source is more than just a theoretical license question for program code. Open source licenses provide software users with security in several aspects. When program code is closed, there are regular complications when a provider has to file for bankruptcy or ceases to support software. Since no one else can view the source code, no other company can further develop or maintain the software. This makes it impossible to use the software in the medium future – at the latest when the first incompatibilities or errors occur. With open source software, on the other hand, another company or organization can be commissioned at any time to continue supplying updates for a program. In addition, by disclosing the source code, Open Source enables users to transparently check the software for compliance with security standards. These are all important arguments for open source software in terms of sustainability.

Open Source as a benefit for the general public

However, the Integreat project does not use the open source approach out of selflessness. Only thanks to the various, already available software packages it was possible to develop Integreat within half a year – even if there was a much smaller range of functions at the beginning. Conversely, today we are helping to improve the software we use. In this way, we create a benefit for the general public. The Integreat platform benefits directly from the improvements.

Open Source does not stop with the program code. Also the Integreat contents are equipped with the proven Creative Commons license. This one knows otherwise also from the Wikipedia. The Creative Commons version we use – in short it is called CC BY-NC 4.0 – allows you to distribute and edit Integreat content by naming the authors. However, a commercial use of the contents is excluded. The use of this license, which has been proven over almost two decades, made it easier for us, for example, to write our own terms of use. For example, the Creative Commons license guarantees that Integreat users may print, edit, and distribute content. The same rules apply to other communities. They can adopt content from other municipalities, including translations, and adapt it for their own purposes. This not only saves time when creating new content, but also translation costs.