What is Open Source
Open Source is a model of software development. It’s defining characteristics is that it’s a decentralized, with the goal to encourage collaboration. It’s a direct response to the limitations of what is known as proprietary code, which restricts the usage of code.
This means that people develop technology onto an existing system, and provide it for others to use freely. In hopes of empowering people, encouraging team work, and stimulating the advancement of technology.
Tim O’Reilly, who popularized the terms open source, said “Empowerment of individuals is a key part of what makes open source work, since in the end, innovations tend to come from small groups, not from large, structured efforts.”
The Power of People
One of the reasons Open Source is so powerful, is its focus on collaboration. Programmers together improve upon source code, to share with others. This code is released under the terms of a software license.
Networks of farmers, engineers and architects, among others, have benefited from software created for their projects and industries, using open source. Such as Open Source Ecology, who, by sharing their designs online, provides the capabilities to make industrial machines, for a fraction of commercial costs.
Every day Examples
Some examples of the ways many of us interact with open source, on an every day basis, are Android, Linux and WordPress.
Linux is an operating system which was first released on September 17, 1991, and was developed by Linus Torvalds from Finland. Much of it of its basic design originates from principles established in Unix during the 1970s and 1980s.
What set Linux apart from its Windows and macOS counterparts, was that “Linux is freely redistributable, anyone may create a distribution for any purpose.” And that’s exactly what people have done.
Using Linux and other open source software, Open Handset Alliance, commercially sponsored by Google, created their mobile phone operating system Android.
It became popular very quikcly, and as of May 2021 has over 3 billion monthly active users, the the Google Play Store features over 3 million apps.
Another great example is WordPress. Originally WordPress was a blog publishing system, but has evolved into a Content Management System (CMS). Millions of websites have been made using WordPress, and is currently one of the most popular CMS.
We are big fans of open source, the NKPD Design website is a product of it. We deliberately chose WordPress as our CMS because it is open source.
The rift between copyright proprietary code (proprietary code), and open source, will continue to influence the future of the technologies we use.
Currently open source is being used in education, religion, media, and more. Each of these will have to work out what works best in their industries, and it will be interesting to see how this is going to evolve.