When we hear “open source” we typically connect it with the most famous open-source platform Wikipedia. And if there is one thing we all know about Wikipedia is that anyone can write the articles or edit it. However, the idea of open source is not to spread misinformation it is actually to have something that is available to everyone for free. This is what open-source software is all about. It is a code that you can use, enhance, modify and share it with others. Here we will discuss different types of open source code, go over why it is important and also point out some of its shortcomings.
Difference between open source and closed source software
As mentioned open source is accessible and it is free of charge. On the other hand, closed software is the one that is created by a company that retains exclusive rights to it, so only people with access can use it and modify it. This is also called proprietary software, and it is illegal to share it with anyone unless you are the original author, and those who share it illegally are called pirates.
However, even open source is not entirely free. Even though you are not paying money for it, you might be asked to agree to the terms and conditions. Of course, these are vastly different than the ones for proprietary tech, but they generally impose some sort of limitation, mainly to protect the distributor. This is not anything drastic since at its core open source is there to incentivize collaboration and sharing of knowledge.
Another important thing, people who modify and improve open-source code, or create their own software can sell that software. The thing is the terms and conditions they accepted might require them to release the source code. This is why it can be difficult to capitalize on such a product. In order for them to make money, they typically give you the code but charge for helping you use it, troubleshoot it, etc.
Advantages of open software
There are a few really good things about relying on open source. Transparency for once. Since the code is available users can inspect it and figure out if it doesn’t have some covert function that they did not agree on.
Open source is great for newbie developers as they get to train their skills free of charge and learn from online tutorials. Many other users love to share knowledge and to be helpful, so learning open-source coding is a great way to start as you also get free lessons and a solid basis for future more complex stuff.
Some also claim that open source is more secure as anyone can spot an error and point it out, but it will also allow people who know the code how to exploit it. At least with the proprietary version, the access is lower and someone else takes responsibility if things go south.