How do I explain open source best to non dev people?

Hi
For a piece I'm writing, I need to explain aspects of open-source code to normal people.
I cant seem to find a list of well-known open source projects.
Most people don't know what Eclipse, Linux and such are.

Is there a way to explain it to non-Dev people, with examples they'd know?
Which movies have had dozens of writers! ?  

Thanks
LVL 1
beavoidSelf EmployedAsked:
Who is Participating?
I wear a lot of hats...

"The solutions and answers provided on Experts Exchange have been extremely helpful to me over the last few years. I wear a lot of hats - Developer, Database Administrator, Help Desk, etc., so I know a lot of things but not a lot about one thing. Experts Exchange gives me answers from people who do know a lot about one thing, in a easy to use platform." -Todd S.

Scott SilvaNetwork AdministratorCommented:
How about comparing open source to a community garden... Many people work on it, and they all share the results... Some are so successful they share the bounty with people that didn't even work in the garden...

Experts Exchange Solution brought to you by

Your issues matter to us.

Facing a tech roadblock? Get the help and guidance you need from experienced professionals who care. Ask your question anytime, anywhere, with no hassle.

Start your 7-day free trial
beavoidSelf EmployedAuthor Commented:
Thanks
AlanConsultantCommented:
Hi,

You could use that, but I think it is quite misleading.

Open Source does not itself imply that others can 'play in your garden' - it means that the source code is open to view by others (maybe only customers, maybe a set of third parties, maybe anyone).  The code can be proprietary and owned (copyrighted?) but still be Open Source.

What is being described above is more a description of Free / Libre software.

I think it is important to carefully distinguish between the two as a lot of people don't understand the differences.


Alan.
nociSoftware EngineerCommented:
It can be a community garden where people work together.
Another one can be a craftsman shop, where everyone can see how the craftsman works en builds stuff, and study all details.
But you are not allowed to make the SAME things.., just watch how stuff is done.  (RHEL)   and you may build your own example from it (CentOS) with sufficient changes.

Most importantly Open Source enables anyone to continue the software service they bought into, even if the original provider abandons it or goes belly up. Also it enables the user to verify claims (or get claims verified) independent from the supplier.
It's more than this solution.Get answers and train to solve all your tech problems - anytime, anywhere.Try it for free Edge Out The Competitionfor your dream job with proven skills and certifications.Get started today Stand Outas the employee with proven skills.Start learning today for free Move Your Career Forwardwith certification training in the latest technologies.Start your trial today
Linux

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.