Open source software is code that is designed to be publicly accessible—anyone can see, modify, and distribute the code as they see fit.
Open source software is developed in a decentralized and collaborative way, relying on peer review and community production.
Open source software is often cheaper, more flexible, and has more longevity than its proprietary peers because it is developed by communities rather than a single author or company.
Some cloud computing applications, like Google Apps, are proprietary. Others, like own Cloud and Next cloud, are open source.
Open source has become a movement and a way of working that reaches beyond software production.
The open source movement uses the values and decentralized production model of open source software to find new ways to solve problems in their communities and industries.
Linux for example is a free, open source operating system (OS), released under the GNU General Public License (GPL). It’s also become the largest open source software project in the world.
Because Linux is released under an open source license, anyone can run, study, modify, and redistribute the source code, or even sell copies of their modified code, as long as they do so under the same license.
5 benefits of Open Source Software for Your Business
Many people prefer open source software because they have more control over that kind of software. They can examine the code to make sure it’s not doing anything they don’t want it to do, and they can change parts of it they don’t like.
Users who aren’t programmers also benefit from open source software, because they can use this software for any purpose they wish—not merely the way someone else thinks they should.
Other people like open source software because it helps them become better programmers. Because open source code is publicly accessible, anyone can easily study it as they learn to make better software.
When people discover mistakes in programs’ source code, they can share those mistakes with others to help them avoid making those same mistakes themselves.
Some people prefer open source software because they consider it more secure and stable than proprietary software.
Because anyone can view and modify open source software, someone might spot and correct errors or omissions that a program’s original authors might have missed.
And because so many programmers can work on a piece of open source software without asking for permission from original authors, they can fix, update, and upgrade open source software more quickly than they can proprietary software.
Many users prefer open source software to proprietary software for important, long-term projects.
Because programmers publicly distribute the source code for open source software, users relying on that software for critical tasks can be sure their tools won’t disappear or fall into disrepair if their original creators stop working on them.
Additionally, open source software tends to both incorporate and operate according to open standards.
After you make the investment in the proprietary software that you feel best suits your business, you’re then locked into a system that is concrete, rigid, constantly needs upgrades and may contain unspecified bugs.
Open source programs keep an open code so you can constantly go in, rewrite the code so as your business changes and adapts, so will your software system.