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The Common Optimization INterface for Operations Research (COIN-OR, http://www.coin-or.org/) is an initiative to promote open-source software for the operations research (OR) community. In OR practice and research, software is fundamental. The dependence of OR on software implies that the ways in which software is developed, managed, and distributed can have a significant impact on the field. Open source is a relatively new software development and distribution model which offers advantages over current practices. Its viability depends on the precise definition of open source, on the culture of a distributed developer community, and on a version-control system which makes distributed development possible. In this paper, we review open-source philosophy and culture, and present the goals and status of COIN-OR.
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