Open source data mining can refer to a few different things, though it typically indicates either the use of open source software in data mining or using data mining to better understand open source programs. The use of open source software for data mining is not terribly unusual, as there are a number of powerful and reliable open source programs that can be used to extract and organize information from large amounts of raw data. Open source data mining can also involve the use of data mining software on open source programs, to better understand the code used to make those programs.
The term “open source” in open source data mining refers to software that is developed and released under some form of general use or public license. These licenses can vary depending on the way in which software is developed and the desires of the developers. In general, however, such licenses allow others to use, modify, and distribute the software released under the license in any way they see fit.
Open source data mining, therefore, can involve the use of open source software in accomplishing various data mining goals and practices. Data mining can refer to a number of different methods, but in general refers to the use of software to “sift” through large quantities of data for pertinent or useful information. A company might use data mining methods on data the company produces regarding sales figures over a particular period of time to refine that raw data down into information that is more useable and easier to understand.
The use of open source data mining software is fairly common due to the number of open source programs that are quite effective for mining data. These programs must be used responsibly, however, as there may be laws in some areas regulating how data can be mined and used. One company could use open source data mining programs to obtain information from data that belongs to another company. This may violate data ownership rights and trade secrets that are legally protected in many areas.
Open source data mining can also refer to the use of data mining software to obtain information about another program. Data mining methods can be used to find source code and other information about a program, which may result in legal violations when performed on commercial software. Since open source programs are typically created under a general public license, data mining on such software can be done legally. The data and information obtained in this way can then be used by programmers to learn from the development of the open source software and solve problems with other programs.