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Explaining only the core essence of things in under 500 characters.

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Sample entry:

Open source

is a way to license and document anything you create so everyone is free to inspect and change how it's built.

So anyone can improve, remix, and share to their heart's content your creation and their changes to it (while honoring your attached license).

People who share their changes to it must include a copy of your license and universal access to blueprints of your creation, their changes, and the best method to recreate it.