What Is Open Source?
“Open Source” describes an online model that brings together software development organizations and the users who depend on those tools. The term “open source” simply refers to something which people are able to modify and use because its design is openly available. Open source software, projects, products or initiatives adopt and champion principles of free, fair use, transparency, collaborative participation, early adoption, collaboration, and meritocracy. These values naturally lead to an environment where people can work more easily and productively.
When a program is licensed under an Open Source license, it allows the programmers to change it and use it for any purpose. They do not need to obtain separate licenses for each and every purpose. With an Open Source code, a programmer can inspect the code and find out its license terms. In most cases, the programmers need not even share the code in order to use the software. For example, Linux operating system is based on the Linux Open Source software, and so, it’s free to use and distribute.
There are many benefits of using open source software. The biggest advantage of using such softwares is that the software is licensed for anyone’s use. Whether it is a small business or a large organization, all programmers can make changes and use the software according to their preferences. This makes the whole process transparent and efficient.
Another big advantage is that programmers have complete control over the software. This means that they can determine its final shape, configuration and detail. They can extend or change certain parts of the code at any time. They can do things that are beyond the control of the developers or designers of the software. While a large corporation may be restricted by the design of the original software, a small or medium sized firm can make extensive modifications and have the final product in their hands within a short period of time. Hence, large computer programmers can make drastic changes to the final product by modifying open source software licenses.
When a large corporation implements its software it often creates a new company culture where every employee is committed to using the software. This is necessary because every employee needs to be trained on using it and modifying it. Without proper training, many computer users may end up making wrong decisions that can lead to the deterioration of the business. On the other hand, when computer programmers make modifications to the original source code, they create a new set of perceptions and expectations that can lead to successful application of the software. Hence, both large and small businesses can make successful use of open source software.
A third advantage is that it facilitates collaborative work among users. In proprietary software, users must first acquire the software, read the manual and do extensive research on how it works. Once they have mastered the usage of the software they must submit their bugs manually to the developers or they will be submitted to the manufacturer, who might delay the release of the product. Whereas, in open source software, users can make use of the documentation and user community that exists on the Internet to get detailed information on usage of the software and find answers to their questions.
The fourth advantage is that it enables the programmer to modify the software for future versions without having to wait for the permission of the owning company. This is called Open Source. Some proprietary software requires a license fee to be obtained before people can make any changes to it. On the other hand, open source code does not require any licensing fees. Hence, this makes it possible for people to modify the software and see whether they can achieve the desired results.
Fifth advantage is that there are no restrictions whatsoever on the license used to obtain the source code. For example, one could get licensed under the BSD or the GNU General Public License. On the other hand, if they wish to use the code under the Creative Commons License, they can do so. Many proprietary licenses restrict the use of the code altogether. This is the main reason why many software companies do not provide source code. They consider this to be an obstacle for competition.