Why Is Open Source Important (Even If You're Not a Developer)
If you’re not familiar with the world of open source software, this is a great intro. Especially if you’re not a very technical person.
Open source software is the one whose source code is available to the public and can be altered for further use. That basically means the very build of a software is available to anyone - to change it, make it better, and solve various problems with it. Yes, it's basically the economy of sharing of the development world.
Open source software comes with different levels of permissions. Some are completely open for further use and distribution. Some come with a license that obliges the developer to label the original source code that was used. And some forbid the developer from using the source code to make profits.
And that's the gist of it.
If you google open source, you’ll find three types of articles. The first ones explain the definition and technical aspects. The second group claims that this is a great concept that has potential to improve humankind in so many ways. And then there are the ones who claim it’s a bad thing that is not benefiting its creators and is potentially destroying the economy.
On this spectrum, we are strongly pro open source. Our developers are devoted to the community, and here's exactly why.
Benefits for the business
Open source is not just great for the developers working on it (a bit more on that later on), it's amazing for the market in general.
First of all, you get so many great tools that are free to use. Those pieces of software are usually of high quality since many talented developers are working on them. It's not a team effort, it's a community effort. That means bugs are fixed much easier and much faster.
Also, it gives us space for solving problems that were not solved before. Content Management Systems, operating system, chat platforms... those have established mainstream solutions that serve billions. But where are the "smaller" problems that are bugging an entrepreneur in a specific niche? Open source serves all those meaningful areas that are currently underserved. No problem is too small and pretty much everything can be automated.
The total cost of ownership is lower for open source software since you're not paying the cost of licensing. Of course, there are the costs of implementation, maintenance, and support if you don't have it in-house.
Also, open source is free from the formal requirements of outdated software development processes. That means it develops and evolves much faster and easier. It's not constrained by procedures which allow both creativity. It also ensures keeping up with the latest technologies.
Open source code is very flexible too. It's normally built as a modular piece of software which means that different developers are working on different parts of it. Firstly, that means real experts will be working on their areas of expertise. And second of all, you can use just a piece of the software if you don't need the entire robust thing. Quite convenient.
There's one more advantage - open source projects are a great technical interview. If you're looking to hire a developer, you don't have to think of complex problems and simulations to check their knowledge. They can show you how they solved specific problems on a real example - with open source code!
Why developers love open source?
We could write an entire book on this topic, but we'll try to keep it short and snappy in this post.
Open source gives developers both a sense of freedom and a sense of purpose. They're giving back to the community while being able to constantly learn new things with the support of their peers. They can get involved with the project they are passionate about since there are so many out there. Or they can start their own.
Every bug is solved much faster and easier.
As we mentioned above, open source is the best technical interview you can conduct. That also means this is a great way for a developer to showcase their skills and get hired by the organization they're targeting.
Open source is not the future, it's definitely the present. And if you're not in on it, it's high time you got involved.
Our library of open source projects is right here. Check it out and feel free to let us know what you think.