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Open source is a set of principles and practices that promote access to the design and production of goods and knowledge. The term is most commonly applied to the source code of software that is available to the general public with relaxed or non-existent intellectual property restrictions. This allows users to create software content through incremental individual effort or through collaboration. The open source model of operation can be extended to open source culture in decision making, which allows concurrent input of different agendas, approaches and priorities, in contrast with more centralized models of development such as those typically used in commercial companies. Open source culture is one where collective decisions or fixations are shared during development and made generally available to all, as done in Wikipedia. This collective approach moderates ethical concerns over a "conflict of roles" or conflict of interest. Participants in such a culture are able to modify the collective outcomes and share them with the community. Some consider open source as one of various possible design approaches, while others consider it a critical strategic element of their operations. Before the term open source became popular, developers and producers used various phrases to describe the concept; the term gained popularity with the rise of the Internet which enabled diverse production models, communication paths and interactive communities. Later, open source software became the most prominent face of open source practices.

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