What is Open Source?

Open source refers to software or a platform whose source code is easily accessible and can be modified or improved by anyone. Open source access grants users of an app permission to fix broken links, improve the design, or improve the original code.

Open source software (OSS) hubs, such as GitHub, are an example of a type of open collaboration that can expand design perspectives far beyond a single company or design workgroup. Open source practices can also lead to significant cost savings, with many open source offerings being provided free to consumers, relying instead on a shareware or donation model.

Key points to remember

  • Open source refers to a project, often a software or computer development project, with freely available code and permission to make changes, bug fixes, modifications, and improvements.
  • Open source software efforts have been behind some of the most popular apps and operating systems available, including the Android operating system for smartphones and the Firefox web browser.
  • Open source relies on community engagement, trust, and permissive licensing strategies.

Understanding open source

Open source is a perfect illustration of the adage that says “It takes a village to raise a child”. To perfect the usability of a product, multiple minds and talents are needed for various areas of product functionality. Platforms developed and built on user collaboration work better and have fewer bugs. Software developers who promote the open source concept believe that by giving any interested party access to modify a product’s source code, the application will be more usable and error-free in the long run.

Mozilla Firefox, Linux, WordPress, Bitcoinand android are all popular examples of open source projects. By making their source codes available to everyone, open source products serve as educational tools for technology students who study the codes, learn from them, and choose to create even better codes. Therefore, better and more innovative applications are created from the base of previous open source applications.

Open Source Licenses

Open source favors the free redistribution of its source codes, hence its name of free software. Source code is the built-in function that guides the operation of the application. Traditionally, most purchased or acquired software or applications have codes that can only be legally manipulated or modified by the original creators, usually an individual, team, or organization. This type of software is called proprietary software or closed source. Proprietary software is equipped with licenses that oblige its users to accept the guidelines established by the original creator.

Open source licenses differ from proprietary licenses in that users must agree to the rules associated with modifying, using, and distributing the software. For example, some open source licenses state that if a user modifies and distributes a program to others, they must also distribute the source code without charging a license fee.

Benefits of open source

Since no permissions are required when using an open software application, programmers can usually repair and update an application’s source code in less time than it usually takes. With closed-source programs, the company or creators of the code must be notified, and users may have to wait a considerable amount of time before changes are made to the application.

In fintech areas such as big data, block chain technology, and cloud computing, innovation is driven by a collaborative open source channel. Due to the huge amount of data emerging technology feeds on, companies are adapting to open source techniques and sharing the work involved with external users who can contribute and find new possibilities for shared data.

The spirit of open source has spread beyond contributing code. In recent times, technology innovators, developers and programmers have designed applications to support collaboration between users around the world in all kinds of fields, including peer-to-peer insurance.

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