What is open source software? Does open source mean free?
When most users download a software program (such as iTunes), they download an installer file that helps unpack your program and get it working on your system. This is why users click on the executable file (usually the .exe file) of any software to run a program on their system. But these executable files are made up of thousands of lines of source code.
So when you try to download and install iTunes, you don’t need to know the source code of iTunes. You use the final product directly, you may not know who made the software, what code. You just install it on your system with just a few simple clicks and you think everything is fine.
But on the other hand, when the open source software is exposed, the source code is also exposed. Many times open-source software developers create an executable file of the software with the source code and then open it, while many times just open the source code, which requires a user to create the final product.
In a word, “open source software”, where the source code of the software is open to all (public) and the source code of other software is closed (private). So open-source software is not free. You may see a lot of software for free, but the number is very small. Not only open-source but also private software can be free. If you want, I will write a detailed article on how open-source software developers make money.
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Why use open-source software?
Suppose an engineer built a house and advertised it for sale. You saw that ad and bought the house. After buying the house, you started using it properly. You are using all the rooms, using all the switches, using all the bathrooms, and so on. Now suppose a house suddenly has a power line problem or a water pipe bursts and starts leaking water. But what do you do? You can’t fix it yourself because you don’t know about the electrical line in your house, or you don’t know which direction the water pipe has been taken.
Similarly, when you install software on your system, you have no knowledge of its source code. And you can access those codes if you want. For example, your home plumbing and electricity lines help run your home’s water and electricity (even if you don’t know which way to go). Similarly, any software does its job without telling you how it works. But now think, what if the software has a serious security error or bug?
You will have to wait for an electrician or plumber to fix the water tap or electricity in the house. Similarly, if there is a problem with any software, you have to wait until the developer releases the new version.
You may say, why, there are many people who fix their own home problems. You are right, but it will only be possible when your home engineer gives you a blueprint for your home. Using blueprints, you can easily see which wire or pipe in your house has gone in which direction. And that’s exactly what open source software does, they give you the source code of the software, so you can understand how the software works and do whatever you want with any problem.
Open source facility
In this case you might say, “Hey bro what do I do with the source code? I can’t do programming. ” OK, even if you can’t do one line programming, you still need to support open source. Why? Let me show you some reasons below.
Open-source, helps build community
When a source code is made public, any developer or programmer can gain knowledge about that software. This acquired knowledge can enhance their programming skills. As is the case in libraries, there are different books written on the same subject, so that the subject can be explored in a better way. By working with open-source, it is possible to innovate something completely with the help of everyone through your own talent, hard work, and creativity.
It quickly extends a helping hand
If a bug is found in a proprietary software or close software, users have to wait until the software company fixes it and releases a new version, and it often takes a long time. But in the case of open-source software, you can’t fix it, but there are thousands of developers who have a hard time avoiding any bugs and fixing them quickly. Errors in any open source software can be solved much faster.
Open source software creates competition and diversity
Open-source software is unique for its diversity. You know how many flavors Linux has. Again, you must know how many browsers Mozilla Firefox has. Even the Google Chrome browser is made from an open-source project called Chromium. When everyone has the ability to take a project into their own hands, and use it in their own ideas, you will surely find a lot of diversity together.
There are many other reasons why you should support open source software. But I’m going to end today’s discussion here, hope you have a pretty good idea about open-source software, and maybe you’re ready to support it too. If you have any questions, be sure to let me know in the comments below.