What is open source? The source of which is open to everyone and accessible publicly. In a nutshell, It is something that people can easily modify and share it. This term emerged and evolved in the context of software development. People can share open source projects too. This can be said to be the open source definition.
The sharing of open source projects can be done by following certain license agreements. Generally, the sharing of open source projects can’t be done on charge.
The source code should be made available for making changes to the program by developers. Its beauty lies in this particular concept. It makes a strong bond between its user and original authors because it allows modification. The source code is generally a part of the software which the computer users are not allowed to see or access. But in the case of open source projects or programs you can access and modify the source code according to your convenience.
The developers who get access to the source code can modify the program or application according to their convenience. They can also improve its functionality. This is open source for you.
What is Open Source Software?
Open source projects or initiatives promote the principles of open exchange or collaborative participation. Which means community-oriented development and support for the applications and projects.
OSS is that type of software where anyone can inspect the elements of its source code, modify it and enhance the productivity.
The programmers who get access can make the program better by adding features. They can also remove the bugs or loopholes left by the original authors of the program. There can be parts of it which the author was unable to rectify and the programmers can rectify and make it work correctly.
The most common example of open source software is LibreOffice and GNU Image Manipulation Program. These two are one of the best open source software.
Not all the software available is open source. The other type of software or the opposite of OS software is the proprietary software. In the case proprietary software, the source code is not made publicly available. Not everyone can make changes to the source code. No transparency or scope for modification is offered to the programmers. Nobody except the original authors is allowed to legally copy, inspect or alter that software.
In addition to use such software one has to sign or agree to a license agreement. This agreement generally says that a user will not alter or copy the source code of the software. They must agree that they will not do anything with it if the authors have not expressly permitted. You are made to agree to the terms and conditions or the license agreement after you install the software or while installing it. Sometimes after installation when you use the software the very first time, the license agreement will appear. You can go through to use the application after you agree to the terms and conditions made by the author or the group who published the software.
Open Source: What is different?
In the closed source software the source code is available only to a particular organization, team or individual who claims to be the author. Only the creator has the right to edit, modify or extend the source code of the program or application.
Open source software follows a slightly different concept. Here the author makes the source code available to all those who download open source software. The users are free to copy the code, learn from it, they can even alter it. The users of OS software are free to use the source code to study, distribute and share it.
In the case of proprietary software, users must accept a certain license agreement at the time they open the software for the very first time. The legal terms of both types of software differ dramatically. They are generally contradictory to each other.
The license in case of OS software has a deep effect in the manner people ae allowed to share, modify, use, study or distribute the source code. In most of the cases, you will see the open source software give permission to use it the way a user wants. Be it for customizations or improvements. But there are also some distributors who restrict the usage with certain T&Cs and the user needs a license to modify the program which may or may not be free of cost. Some people call it as “copyleft licenses”. It states that the person who will release a modified version of the author’s program must also provide the source code along with it. There are some open source licenses that state that the one who alters the source code and shares it has to give the program’s source code without charging any kind of license fee on it.
Is open source software only important to computer programmers?
No, the use of open source software is not limited to programmers only and it can also benefit non-programmers too. The users can learn many things from it.
The reason why everyone benefits from open source software is the wide community support. They have built almost everything on open source technology. The software list that they used includes the Linux operating systems and Apache Web server application.
Every time a computer user views web pages, checks his emails, uses social networking websites, streams online music, or plays any multiplayer video games. Their device connects to a globally spread network of computers which use open source software to route and transmit their data to the “local” devices they have with them. These computers which manage all this important work are located far from the physical access of anyone. Such places are typically far from the physical reach of any individual to make sure nobody exploits it for black hat purposes. Due to all these features, such computers are generally termed as “remote computers”.
The remote computing includes activities like storing files, sharing photos and watching videos. These activities incorporate not only local devices but also that global network of remote computers that create something like an “atmosphere” around them. Because of these features, it is termed as “remote computing”. Cloud computing is becoming really essential nowadays. It has an important role to play for the devices which are connected to the internet. Some examples of proprietary source software which are cloud computing applications also include Google apps. Examples of open source software which are cloud computing application include ownCloud, Nextcloud, and OpenStack.
Why do people prefer using open source software?
Many people prefer the use of closed source software over open source software because of authoritative application. But there are also many benefits of using an OSS. Some of which are :-
Using open source software gives you more control over the program or application that you are using because of the accessibility to the source code. You can modify the code for your own convenience. Non-programmers or Beginners also benefit from open source software as they can use it for learning or any other purpose.
For programmers, this is an amazing source of learning. They can access the code and compile it to learn how each module is working to give the desired output. They can train themselves to become better at what they do. One can also copy or share the code with others too. This also helps the programmers to rectify each other’s mistakes and that’s how it makes a community which develops the program and helps to make it stable. Development can extend the software to get more desired outputs and in less time.
Security and Updates:
Since anyone can access the source code of these software, they are considered to be more secure and stable. Not only people can fix the mistakes and errors made by the author but also can improve the program by adding some new features without the need of any permission. And because of the fact that many programmers can work on the same open source project without permissions, they can fix, update and upgrade OS software more quickly than any closed source software.
Open source software is more stable when compared to proprietary software in case of more important and long term projects. Since programmers can publicly distribute the source code, many people can work on the same project at a time. So it is sure that their tools won’t disappear or fall into disrepair even if the original authors stop working on it. Moreover, the OS software tends to both operate and incorporate according to its open standards.
Does ‘open source’ means free of cost?
People have a misconception about the fact that open source software is just something which is free of cost. The thought behind this might have emerged because of its name. “Open” word is most often confused with public and generally public resources are economical when compare to private ones.
Open source projects and software might be economical but it is not the only reason why people prefer it over closed source software. Because the programmers, who create, modify or share a particular open source project can even charge for it or apply any license fee on it. But to retain the concept and keep it stable no charge is fine on it. In this way, the software remains free of charge, and they make money by helping others to install and troubleshoot it.
Many business groups tend to hire programmers who have experience with open source projects. OS software might be free of charge but still, money can be made by troubleshooting and a skill in programming.