Open source is the term used when talking about software (or almost anything nowadays) whose design is visible to the public and editable as well. Visible because the public can easily see how it works and what makes it work. Editable because it is not protected by anything physical or legal that will prevent other individuals or companies from taking the design and editing it.
What is open source software?
Source code, if you’re not a computer whiz, are all those words and computer-ese that programmers write to make software and apps. If you look at most of the software you are using (even the web browser you are using to read this), you just see the user interface. You don’t see the code used to make the application or computer software. Also, since you can’t see the source code, or it’s not open to you, then it’s closed and you are unable to make any edits. Open source software, on the other hand, is software that you can see the code and make changes as you see fit. And no one would get angry at you or file charges.
Open Source is for the People
It sounds like it’s for an underground movement of sorts, but in a way, open source is really for the people, or for everyone. There’s one main difference between proprietary software, or software owned by organizations such as Microsoft, and open source software. First, one is the property of its creators, and the same goes for the source code. You aren’t allowed by law to change or copy the source code for these proprietary softwares; that is if you could get your hands on the code in the first place.
Open source software and the source code used to create the said software are made available by its authors to anyone who would like to take a crack at it. If others would like to copy, alter, study it or share it, it’s all allowed.
Like propriety software, open source software also have a license, but these licenses differ from each other very much. While propriety software licenses prevent others from modifying the software in any form, open source licenses simply ask others that if they were going to modify or copy it, they should make that modification or copy open source as well.
Share and share alike, is one of the driving force behind the open source code movement.
Many software or computer applications are open source. GNU Image Manipulation Program and LibreOffice are open source, and they are pretty functional pieces of software. Just because it’s open source doesn’t mean that the quality suffers. In fact, because it’s open source, other programmers are able to change and improve upon the original design.
There are many advantages of using open source code software or providing your source code, if you’re a programmer, free to the world, and free applications is just one of them. The more people share knowledge, the more people become knowledgeable.