Proprietary software or closed source software is computer software licensed under exclusive legal right of the copyright holder. The licensee is given the right to use the software under certain conditions, while restricted from other uses, such as modification, further distribution, or reverse engineering.
Complementary terms include free software, licensed by the owner under more permissive terms, and public domain software, which is not subject to copyright and can be used for any purpose. Proponents of free and open source software use proprietary or non-free to describe software that is not free or open source.
A related, but distinct categorization in the software industry is commercial software which refers to software produced for sale, but without meaning it is closed source.
According to Eric S. Raymond, in the Jargon File, "In the language of hackers and users" it is used pejoratively, with the meaning of "inferior" and "a product not conforming to open-systems standards".
Read more about Proprietary Software: Software Becoming Proprietary, Legal Basis, Exclusive Rights, Abandonment By Owners, Pricing and Economics, Similar Terms, Examples
Famous quotes containing the word proprietary:
“Words can have no single fixed meaning. Like wayward electrons, they can spin away from their initial orbit and enter a wider magnetic field. No one owns them or has a proprietary right to dictate how they will be used.”
—David Lehman (b. 1948)