Open Source Software

Open Source Software

Article by Claude Calleja – Executive at eSkills Malta Foundation published on on 4th October 2020

Open Source Software (OSS) is software provided under a license that allows users to access and improve it for their own purposes. Many open source projects are hosted on GitHub, where you can access the repositories and get involved in the project community. Employees and start-ups then use the software for distribution and collaborative work. OSS is released under a specific license that makes it available to all. An open source application is freely available because nothing prevents the developer from requesting a copy of the software and at the same time allowing the redistribution of the software and its source code thereafter.

There are many different types of open source projects, such as open source libraries, software packages or plug-ins but there is a common element in all of them: Free Software. Open Source Software does not necessarily mean that executable software is provided free of charge but access to the source code is unrestricted. Firefox, Chrome, OpenOffice, Linux and Android are popular examples of open source software, while Microsoft Windows is probably the most popular closed-source operating system on the market today. The opposite of “open source” software is “closed source”, which has a license that restricts users and withholds source code from them.

Linux is an open source software because anyone can get a copy of the source code for free. GIMP is an image manipulation and image editing software which is one of the best open source tools in the world and rendered popular for its ease of use. It also makes it easy to create new graphics and design elements and you can take things to the next level by downloading plug-ins created by the broader open source community of GIMP. This is an open source program that really shows how much a committed development community can improve a platform at a given time. The open source development model is the process that the open source community of a project uses to develop its software. It is published as source code that can be viewed and modified by anyone and is free to use.

For example, the Android mobile operating system has a hacked version of Linux at its core. Apple’s mobile and desktop operating systems are both based on OpenBSD, an open source operating system originally derived from BSD Unix. There is an open collaboration that can broaden the design perspective for a wide range of products, from mobile devices to desktop computers. Open source practices can also lead to significant savings, as many open source offerings that are made available to consumers free of charge rely on donation models.

As we have seen in this article, Open Source is a model that satisfies market needs in totally new and innovative ways. This model is a perfect example of more organic and natural collaboration which promotes learning by doing in a cost-effective manner.