Web Developer

Open Source: see how it works

Open source is a true revolution for software development. Open source platforms can be accessed, modified and distributed independently, as they are software open to the public.

You may be wondering: “ How does open source work and what are the advantages for your business? Is there no risk? ”

These are common doubts and concerns, but we can tell you that there is no reason to worry.

On the contrary, open source is a development method, and also a type of software that can bring countless benefits to your business.

An element of the true digital transformation process — and which, nowadays, can be seen as something beyond software, but a movement that values ​​a new business model.

Simply put, it is possible to understand open source software as a product developed in a decentralized regime.

In other words, the company is not solely responsible for its production, but a community of users and developers.

Therefore, its source code is open.

Now, how does open source fit into your company’s day-to-day life and what are the benefits of this software model? Also, is an open source platform safe from hacker attacks?

There are answers to these and other questions related to open source that you will learn in this content, a complete guide on the subject.

How about continuing to learn? Just keep reading!

What is open source?

The English term “ open source ” means “ open source ” and refers to the source code of a website or application. In this sense, your programming language can be seen by anyone, who can adapt it for different purposes.

Most of the time, these tools are shared online by developers, allowing unrestricted access to anyone.

Nowadays, there are different types of software out there. Often, the same company offers open or closed source products.

But what’s the difference?

Closed code, unlike what was explained above, has an owner. A methodology also known as “proprietary model”.

This person in charge will be the only one with access to the programming language — that is, modifications and improvements will only be carried out by that person or company.

An example is the Windows operating system, developed by Microsoft.

Thus, the company sells the product to the market, but keeps the code closed, preventing other people and rivals from accessing it.

It is even a “natural” movement, if you evaluate it closely, as it initially avoids strengthening competition.

So, how does open source manage to be a movement with so many professionals and companies following it?

Because, at first glance, it doesn’t seem like a profitable model, right? But know that it is and some companies stand out in this market.

What is the purpose of open source software?

Despite sounding almost like a political or economic movement, open source has actually become something that seeks continuous improvement in software.

But from a community point of view, adding everyone’s input in the process of improving the solution .

After all, this was an insight from those behind the movement: there is no point in shielding the software behind a license, since the community could always transform the flaws of your product into a new — and competing — commodity.

It’s something that David Habusha, Vice President of Product at open source security and compliance company WhiteSource, discusses in an article for Forbes .

According to him, there are two reasons why major market players are behind the biggest open source projects:

  • Greater reach in the developer community;
  • Ability to influence which platforms are being used by developers.

However, it is something that goes beyond simple “control” of the platform. In fact, it’s about recognizing and valuing the developer’s role in this dynamic.

In practice, this relationship translates into different interactions between companies and developers

However, before seeing examples, it is important to understand how this dynamic is possible:

Most open source projects are hosted on platforms designed for this interaction.

One of the most famous is GitHub .

It’s like a social network, a community that can access projects and repositories, being able to participate in the creation of services and solutions freely. In addition, of course, its main role is to provide an environment for creating code.

The model that some companies use starts this way, with the open source development of a product.

There is active community participation.

Then, after a certain period of time, the company takes over development and polishes the solution for the market (in terms of testing, security, vulnerabilities, etc.).

When the solution is launched commercially, there is still an exchange with the community, which is fed by feedback from users and the developers who accompany it.

Thus, continuous improvement work is carried out in an uninterrupted and qualified manner.

Fix possible errors

When launching a product in a collaborative community, the correction of possible errors, bugs and failures is much faster, as open source allows for a greater level of interaction .

Thus, the product has a better level of optimization — and more hands and minds to help with its development.

Add features

See if this situation makes sense:

A digital product is launched and aimed at an audience, but the company was unable to expand its development to add more features.

Common, right? But how to solve it?

The community can act in this regard.

This way, they intervene quickly to add features based on user feedback.

Study and analyze

It is something that the company can do, but is not restricted to it: studying and analyzing software , reading the source code, looking for vulnerabilities and critical points.

Make customizations

Finally, perhaps one of the biggest goals behind open source is customization. This is a point that dates back to its beginnings, in the 1980s.

The ability for anyone to do whatever they want with the software.

Of course, nowadays freedom is not that broad, but it is very appreciated in the functional context of a system.

After all, open source allows you to shape the solution according to your needs.

Do you want to know an easy-to-understand example? WordPress!
It is an open source content management platform, which allows full customization of the front end – that is, the part that appears directly to the user

You can either customize it yourself or hire a developer to apply a theme and customize it for you or your company.

Open source VS free software

Above, we mentioned the existence of “Free Software”, as something related but not equal to “open source”. Why the distinction?

Well, the difference lies essentially in the speech.

The “Free Software” movement has an approach considered less pragmatic.

It is a flag that was raised by Stallmann and that continues to be discussed to this day, but in a more political sense, which is based on principles closely linked to the user’s freedom to use the software as they wish.

See the “ four essential freedoms ” defined:

  1. The ability to execute the software as you choose, for any reason.
  2. The capacity to grasp how the program works and tailor it to your needs. This requires access to the source code.
  3. The freedom to redistribute copies so that you can help others.
  4. The freedom to share copies of your updated versions with others.

Open source is much closer to the corporate scenario.

It is a methodology that focuses more on the pragmatic side : on the advantages of speed of development, community involvement to improve a product, etc.

Therefore, it is possible to state that practically all free software is open source, but not all open source software is a fan of the free software movement.

What makes software open source?

Unlike private software, in which new versions and updates are published only by the developing company, in the case of open source software , updates can appear at any time, from anywhere in the world.

This definition of free software is closer to a collective concept and focused on the real needs of users.

Open source

The software must have a source code that allows users to open it and that is readable to any programmer.

The software license allows changes to the code and program modifications, but its distribution must be made under the same terms as the original license.

In some cases, however, it is required that modified programs have names and numbers that distinguish the original version from the new versions.

This depends on how the developer wants to proceed.

License distribution

The rights to the software are available to everyone who uses it.

They must be applied, even if distributed to several people, always maintaining the guidelines of the original license.

Those who own the rights to these programs are jointly guaranteed full distribution of the original program.

An open source license should not have any clause with rules for changes in style, demands, etc.

Code author integrity

The license cannot restrict distribution of the source code in an altered form.

This does not even apply to licenses that authorize the distribution of patch files, altering the program at the time of its construction.

The restriction on source code ends up transforming free software into private software.

The license must allow distribution of the program built from the modified source code, but may still require that derived programs have a different name and number than the original version.

Free Distribution

The distribution of the software license must be carried out even if it has other programs as components of the software.

The software can even be sold after its modifications, but other people will also have the same rights over it, not being restricted to programmers only.

Zero Discrimination

Anyone, regardless of their social or financial status, can use an open source system .

The license definition ensures that everyone has equal rights to obtain the software freely.

In the same way, any company can also use the program license, as all branches are readable for use.

Therefore, there is no way to prevent autonomous users or organizations from using this software in the way they see fit.

Derivative Works

The license for open source software must be open in terms of permission for modifications and derivative works.

Following this logic, it is necessary to ensure that these derivations are distributed under the same terms as the original license.

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