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Why Open Source?

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Open source refers to a production and development system that enables everyone to access the sources of the end product.

Why Choose Open Source?

     

Introduction

Open source refers to a production and development system that enables everyone to access the sources of the end product.

The thought behind the concept of open source software is that it enables rapid evolution of the software. Many programmers from all over the world read redistribute and adapt the source code to their specific needs. These people improve the software, take care of potential loopholes and fix bugs. The simultaneous work of many brains results in evolution of the software at hitherto unimaginable speeds.

Benefits and Needs

As open source software can be worked on by anyone, it gets the chance to be evaluated and reworked by the best programming minds. This model creates rapid evolution bringing forth better software than the conventional closed model. The drawback of the closed model is evident- its source is available only to a few programmers who may be blind to some of the software’s defects. Everyone else using such software have to bear with whatever is offered to them. Here are a few benefits and requirements of the open source system.

  1. The open source system treats users as co-developers. Users are encouraged to make and hand out additions, code fixes, bug reports and documentation for the software. This creates a snowball effect and the software evolves rapidly.
  2. Since many users can view source code, this can help to spot all the bugs and fix them. The software gets tested across several machines.
  3. However, to enable this process, the initial version of the software has to be launched at the earliest.
  4. The new code should also be integrated very often to avoid overhead of a large number of bugs at the end of all the development work.
  5. The software should be launched in at least two versions- a feature rich but buggier model and a simpler but also more stable version- initially. The problematic one can go to people who want more features and are ready to take risk with using a not so thoroughly checked code. This set can then play the role of co-developers who report bugs and suggest ways to fix them.
  6. The software fares well when developed with a modular structure, as this enables parallel development.
  7. The software should have an environment of rapid decision making, both formal and informal, to enable prompt decisions to accommodate changing user needs and other factors.

The Open Source Initiative

The concept of open source has been evolving in the past twenty years with the rapid changes and possibilities brought by the Internet and the World Wide Web. The Open Source Initiative (OSI), a non profit body dedicated to promoting open source software, has studied the case in the context of the Internet. The OSI is now working to present its findings to the commercial software world.

     

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Posted on: February 4, 2008

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