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Open Source Solutions and Their Role in Software Development

Open source is increasingly popular and favored by developers and plays a vital role in the entire software development life cycle. 

Some examples of successful applications include the Linux operating system and React (a JavaScript library).

We’ll closely examine open source solutions and the benefits they can bring if your business considers including this solution in infrastructure.

What is open source?

The term “open source” refers to any program whose source code is made available for everyone to inspect, modify, and share due to the publicly accessible design. 

In more detail, open source might refer to publicly accessible frameworks, languages, databases, and standards.

When given access to a computer program’s source code, developers can enhance it by adding new features or fixing errors that don’t still function correctly.

The programming community rigorously examines new lines of code, and developers include dependable, high-quality code into projects. The code that fails during testing is not approved. 

What is Open source software (OSS)?

Open source software (OSS) is whose source code is published and uses an open-source license. This license allows anyone to study, change, and improve the software and distribute it.

Besides the availability, open-source software also has other main features:

  • Such software is freely distributable and sold without restrictions.
  • A program’s source code should be easily accessible.
  • Users can change the source code of a program or can use it in other projects.
  • The license cannot harm other programs that come with it. 

The OSS license includes terms developers can use, modify, and distribute the software.

The five most popular OSS licenses, according to the Synopsys Black Duck® KnowledgeBase, are: 

  • MIT License
  • GNU General Public License 2.0
  • Apache License 2.0
  • GNU General Public License 3.0
  • BSD License 2.0 (3-clause, New or Revised)

How is the OSS used in software development?

Open-source solutions have been highly influential in the software development community. Programmers have developed a generation of open-source tools and still use them to aid with the premature optimization and problem-solving of code. 

Open source code is often published freely and kept in a public repository. Anyone with access to the repository can utilize the code independently or provide enhancements to the project’s general functionality and design. 

What are some examples of OSS?

Open source software is involved in developing many commercial online and mobile solutions in the programming industry. 

There are several prominent software that comes under the open source umbrella, including:

  • Red Hat Software: An open-source platform that offers a wide range of enterprise-level productivity applications
  • LibreOffice
  • GNU Image Manipulation Program: an open source image manipulation tool
  • VLC Media Player: An open-source for playing audio and video file.

The benefits of open-source software for businesses

The open source code is essentially free to all users and offers several significant benefits. 

Absolute transparency

The most important feature of open source is the transparency of the code. Users of open source software tend to trust software vendors more. Besides, because the code is publicly transparent and gives users a sense of stability, open source is often used for long-term projects.

Flexibility and agility of open source

Flexibility and agility are among the significant benefits of open source software, perhaps best demonstrated by the accessibility of the software.

An IT business and a customer are obligated by an agreement when working on a commercial project, which may limit developers. 

Modifications, additions, and upgrades in this situation depend on the programming expertise and productivity of the developers. Because the code is not available to the public, businesses will be unable to adjust the product if changes arise. In this case, they must contact the solution’s developers. Product support will also expire if such a collaboration fails, and the program may become vulnerable. 

An open-source program, on the other hand, does not put limits on users and can quickly scale to meet their needs. In-house IT professionals can adapt the code to suit your business processes. 

Open source can reduce costs exponentially 

Mat Long – CEO at Groovetechnology (Professional React Native Outsourcing Company in Australia) said: Open source is much more cost-effective than closed source. Most open source software remains free, and you only pay if you require services regarding source code support, increased security, and help with interoperability management.

 It is highly beneficial to businesses to save more budget spend on software to utilize elsewhere. In addition, closed-source programs are more expensive and harder to change.

Enhanced data security

Enterprises are most concerned about whether open source solutions can be trusted and whether they will become a weak link in the corporate structure. It’s hard to claim security superiority for any solutions. Still, the open source community and companies have been highly sensitive to information security challenges.

We should utilize open source code for developing applications because the community quickly discovers and reports security problems, which the program owner generally addresses immediately. 

Software quality

A piece of software created by a small group of developers may be of poorer quality than software generated by hundreds of people worldwide with expertise in various technologies, industries, and projects.

One of the fundamental pillars of open source software development is programmers who strive to improve a program and share their knowledge. You are more likely to develop better code when you know that other experts will be examining it. 

Downsides of open source programs

We cannot pretend that open source is without disadvantages. 

Here are four OSS limitations:

  • The difficulty when set up and the unfriendly user interface often make open source code challenging to use and apply to projects.
  • Poor compatibility is also a limitation for OSS. When trying to set up proprietary hardware using OSS, it is common to require drivers that are only available from the hardware manufacturer.
  • Because it is not entirely under the vendor’s control like commercial software, open source software (OSS) might pose liability concerns. It also rarely contains any guarantee, responsibility, or infringement indemnity protection. As a result, the user of the OSSs has to be responsible for ensuring legal compliance. 
  • There are still costs incurred when businesses use open source code, such as training users, importing data entry, or setting up hardware.

Why do more developers prefer using open source software?

Better training

There’s a reason why so many individuals are active in the open-source program. It’s an excellent approach to learning to program and gain expertise with various applications because of the accessible public of open source. 

Programmers can now efficiently study to make better software. They may also share their work with others, asking for discussion and critique. When users find errors in the source code of programs, they may share those errors with others to assist them in avoiding making the same mistakes. 

Self – advertising

Thanks to the growing open source community, there are many ways to get your talent noticed as a great software developer, such as sharing your project on your Github profile or attending conferences and events like Hacktoberfest.

There are many different aspects of open source that you can exploit to prove your skills. As a result, you may find more opportunities in work, such as working with large corporations or becoming a freelancer developer.

Giving back to the Open-source community

There is much better value besides money that professional developers can get from open source code. Many programmers feel great satisfaction when their project gives back something valuable to the community. Their work will become more meaningful and also make them more passionate about it.

To sum up, using open source can give you a lot of competitive advantage and leverage to improve your products. You’ll immediately see what makes these programs unique once you begin incorporating them into your business.