Open source is an application where source code is available to public for use or modification from its original design free of charge.
Open Source Applications are and will always be close to my heart. Hence it seemed appropriate that I open up with this only. If you are familiar with open source applications, please raise your hand and a smile. And if you not only know about them but also use them exclusively then give a pat on your shoulder and clap for yourself. You have reached what people in technical world can term as enlightenment!
This little piece is targeted to bring a little more awareness for those who are yet to witness the world of software without the confines of copyrights and restrictive license. So, what exactly is Open Source?
The most rudimentary answer I can provide is an application, whose source code is accessible to the users for any kind of modification and updates. And in most cases that software is legally permitted to be distributed without lines and lines of disclaimers
The philosophy of Open Source is that if the software is developed by one then it should be available for everyone. All my economist friends here will agree that the word ‘globalization’ took the fancy of our imagination for the last two decades. Well, Open Source Software can be defined as globalization of computer software!
The revolution started in 1983, when it was imagined that the whole world of users can be considered as developers and a common platform can be envisioned to achieve this dream.
If I got you hooked on this concept, than this write up has achieved 30% of its goal! Please read on.
Whenever we discuss alternative options in software, the question we often get is that there is nothing wrong with the applications we use, so why fix something that is not broken
Very valid indeed!
And my answer to this is always the same. Why spend billions and billions to learn more about space when we have our earth? We as human beings have been hard coded to search for something better than what we have and try to match our own interests when we do.
It’s the same with applications. It’s not that we are not happy with the things we possess but if there can be something that suits our needs in a better way then we must explore that option. I hope you are still with me, because we have reached 70% of the goal I want to achieve by this write-up.
There are many appealing aspects of Open Source Platform and I’ll just list a few, the rest is all of you and your zeal for enlightenment!
Since these applications are made by keeping in mind their extensions and modifications, hence they are extremely portable and have good interoperable properties. The developers understand that since the source code is bare for people to contribute hence security is their primary concern, so hackers or viruses will have to work very, very hard to even try to do some damage.
And before I forget to mention that they uphold their agenda that since these applications are built by humanity hence it should be for all humanity (read: the applications are affordable, in the ways you cannot even imagine for e.g. here sharing is good and even encouraged!) These are some of the few open source applications that everybody should be aware of:
Ubuntu (operating system), Mozilla Firefox (Internet Browser), Apache Web Server (web server for hosting applications), Nginx (very light weight web server for hosting applications), Gimp (Image Editor), VLC (Video Playback), Open Office ( document, presentation, spread sheet),Drupal (Content Management System for websites), Pidgin (all purpose Internet messenger) , Audacity (audio software), Cheese (for your webcams) , Miro (Video Playback)
If I got you to open them, then this article has achieved its target. We can discuss all of them in some detail in the forthcoming write ups!