Open source is something that is made publicly accessible to everyone. Open source software is a software that is programmed by a specific organization which is built in such a way that anyone can inspect, modify and enhance it. Open source software, abbreviated as OSS, has to follow certain criteria such as:

  • It must be freely distributed.
  • External users must be allowed to modify the code and this modified code must be allowed to redistribute.
  • Source code must be included within the program.

Today, OSS embraces and celebrates the initiative of open exchange of code, rapid prototyping, community oriented development and transparency within the software development environment.

There are two types of formats for an open source: compiled and non-compiled. It allows a huge area of software development for all, whereas in a traditional software, these services are restricted to copyright holders. Another advantage is that it enables quicker software repairs and lead to higher quality applications.

Advantages of OSS are:

  • Software redistribution
  • Source code integrity and availability
  • Distribution of licenses
  • Anti-discrimination
  • Code can be easily improved and tested
  • Gives an opportunity for developers or beginners to improve their programming skills
  • It is more secure than any other proprietary one as any bug if present, can be immediately found and fixed
  • It can be very helpful to analyze long term projects since these kinds of software are subjected to changes all around the world and the project developers can clearly see the different modern approaches and implement their project accordingly.

There are different licenses provided to these softwares. They are:

  • MIT license
  • GNU GPL 2.0
  • GNU GPL 3.0
  • Apache License 3.0
  • BSD License 3.0

Commercial software cannot be open source since the entire software is copyrights reserved and is intended only for that organization alone and cannot be modified or changed by any other third party.

Today everyone having access to the internet can get benefitted of open source. Nowadays whenever we deal with any gadgets such as mobile phones, laptops, emails, other useful softwares in our system, everything is connected over a global network that is managed by a class of open source softwares. Nowadays system can be accessed from anywhere by using the concept of remote computers. In order to store so much data, cloud computing is the most emerging paradigm that is used. Cloud computing has a vast amount of services that are also made as open source. Examples include NextCloud, owncloud etc.

Open source software is given more preference due to following reasons like: control, security, training and stability.

One important point to be noted is that not all open source softwares are charged for free. Few open source softwares are chargeable. Again, it depends on the software owner. Few of the softwares are charged only for their licensing. Few are charged for the overall infrastructure, services and license. Few are absolutely free. Open source software provides a means of collaborating ideas of different individuals, sharing ideas, transparency and encouraging different people to code and develop a better software altogether.