No, open source is not some software that you can download for free.
What is open source and why do people in tech keep mentioning it? Open source actually refers to something that people can access, view, and modify publicly. In programming, this refers to licensed software that allows others to use for their own purpose. Open source projects allow an open exchange and free collaboration within the community.
If you’re new to programming, here are some software that you may not be aware, that are open source.
- VLC Media Player
- Mozilla Firefox
- Notepad ++
Popularity of Open Source Software
There are varying reasons why some prefer open source rather than proprietary software. First, it can be a learning platform for both the beginner and the advanced programmers. Second, they get a certain level of exposure to the community by getting feedback for their code and offer feedback to others in return. Third, people have control over the software and can modify in the way that they want.
Benefits of Contribution
Should you contribute to open source software? It’s up to you to decide but keep in mind that there are advantages when you do. For starters, using open source is cost-effective. It allows startups to begin with small steps rather than splurging at the beginning. Of course, as the organization grows bigger, then it would be justifiable to increase your solutions as well. More and more companies believe that open source is a growing asset to the tech industry. That said, employers are looking for talents who are creatively contributing to the source code of the software. As a result, they can find people easily without having to give loads of exams during their application. Lastly, contributing to open source software allows you and your team to be flexible and agile. Flexibility is crucial nowadays, and if you don’t keep up, you surely will be left out in the competition.
Misconception about Open Source
Perhaps one of the most common myths about open source software is that it is just a resource that is free. Truth is, not everything is free with open source. You may have free access to a source code at some point as an individual, but once you use it for business, that’s when the fees start. Another common misconception about open software is that all of it is Linux. Of course, we may often see the duo together but that’s not the whole picture. OSS projects are not entirely just written for Linux but with Windows and Macintosh operating systems as well. Lastly, some people think that programmers who contribute to OSS are not “real” programmers. If you’re not yet convinced, think that household names in tech have been using OSS such as OpenPOWER (a collaboration by Google, IBM, Nvidia, Tyan, and Mellanox) and the Open Virtualization Alliance or OVA.
Here’s a parting thought: OSS is not just for developers, it’s for users too!
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