Well, you may have heard about the open-source software. What is that, and why would someone give access to everyone to download the software? This technical guide has all your answers regarding open source software, how it works, examples, and types of open source software licenses.
What is Open-source Software?
Talking about it, it is a non-proprietary software that allows end-users to use the code legally. Software is considered to be open source in the following cases.
- Anyone can tweak open software’s code to make new software. This process is known as repurposing the existing software.
- The source code is freely available without paying any extra charges.
It refers to the development model that distributes open-source code publicly so that users can collaborate on it. It is referred to as the “open source way” of building software.
Is open-source Free? What’s the Misconception
Open-source software does not mean that anybody can have it for free, but it means the code is freely accessible. Let’s understand it with some top-notch examples from big brands. Consider Red Hat Enterprise Linux. It is open-source, meaning you can see its code because it is freely available. However, you cannot use that freely available code to execute somewhere else because that needs specialization and expertise in programming.
Sometimes open source and free software are consolidated, which is a wrong notion because it adds unnecessary confusion. Many people misunderstand open source software as free software, making it an incorrect concept. Free software emphasizes everybody’s right to use that software.
Common examples of Open source software
Many popular applications are open-source software, allowing users to improve and modify them. However, all changes won’t be easily accessible to the general people, and working on these open-source codes can be fun. Some of the popular open-source software includes
Apache Web server, Libre Office, GNU/Linux, JQuery, VLC media player, JQuery, GIMP, etc.
Let’s Hop on the history of Open-source software.
In 1983, this idea struck Richard’s mind and the movement was informally formed by Richard Stallman. He was a programmer at MIT at that time. His concept and thoughts behind it were different. He believed the software should be accessible to all so that anybody can understand, tweak, modify and learn from it. With this initiative, he began releasing the open software under his name and license. This was called GNU Public License. With Richard’s this ideology, open-source software came into effect in 1998.
Types of Open source software licenses
The open-source program comes with a license, and that license can be distributed among people. Here is the list of the most famous open-source software licenses
- MIT license
- Apache License 2. o
- GNU ( General Public License ) 2.0
- BSD License 2.0 revised
Advantages and Disadvantages of Open Source Software
The significant advantages are that open source software has flexibility, and anyone can take away the code for modification. Developers can evaluate it and make the best version of the code because programmers can use existing code to modify it and tweak that to put some modifications. Open source is a literal source of learning, and it is like a new opportunity for every budding programmer.
There may be compatibility issues when programmers lack the required hardware. This can result in inopportune project costs. Open software provides less to no security and protection from infringement. In most cases, the open-source software can result being less user-friendly and difficult to use.
Liability issues can arise with open-source software. Aside from the usual warranty and liability protections, open-source software rarely contains any violating protections unlike commercial software, fully controlled by the vendor. Compliance with legal obligations remains the responsibility of the OSS consumer.
Is Open source software bug-free?
Well, open-source software has bugs. Open-source software contains several code and performance flaws, but vendors and customers can fix these quickly. It does not matter what kind of software you have because the concern is who will resolve the flaws. The vendors can fix the issues in commercial software, and as far as the open-source software is concerned, customers are responsible for it.
Is Open-source Software Secure?
Well, it is a bit critical to ensure the safety and security of open-source software, but it offers several benefits which may be hard to find in commercial software. It requires a great understanding of the code to manage and secure it effectively.
In the End
It is the outcome of an open-source model and is a decentralized model which accepts modifications and production. People often refer to its principles as “the open source way” because it has influenced a broader movement in software development.”
Many technically strong people can contribute their input to the existing free source software. Most popular websites and applications are built using open-source projects such as Linux, Kubernetes, and Git.
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