Growth of Open Source Software

Topics: Open source, Free software, Usage share of web browsers Pages: 11 (3000 words) Published: March 31, 2012

Table of Contents
A. Abstractii

B. List of Figures / Tablesvii

C. Survey Formviii

1. Background / Introduction2

2. Research Problem and Objective3

3. Scope of Study4

4. Research Method & Materials5
4.1 Conduct of Survey5
4.2 Participants (Demographics)6
4.3 Survey Questions7

5. Findings/Discussion8
5.1 Results of Survey8
5.1.1 Open Source Usage8
5.1.2 Awareness of Open Source Software10
5.2 Current Statistics11

6. Conclusion14

1. Background / Introduction

In the competitive age of Information Technology today, companies are ever developing and enhancing computer software made for end-users. Such software can come in many forms covering different industries and would require consumers to pay a one-time fee to purchase and install the product. After which, they would be able to use the software from their computers, but have no ability to modify the software to tilt towards their needs. Such software have come to be known as proprietary software.

On the contrary, Open Source software, gives users with technical knowledge to freely edit the programming behind (which is also known as “source code”). The open source movement started in the early 1980s with the development of a freeware version of UNIX, a computer operating system, known as GNU, which was developed by Richard Stallman, whom was a strong advocate that software should be free. From that development came the first open source license, the GNU General Public License, or GPL.[1] Open Source licenses are copyright licenses for computer software that has its source code available for everyone to use. As mentioned before, the customisation and modification of Open Source software is hence, made possible by these licenses. These licenses are often, just like their accompanying software, free, and their limitations being that the name(s) of the author(s) are included in the code.

This open access can be used to fix errors in the software rather than waiting for the software owner to do so, and/or tailor the software to suit their needs. In recent years, there is an augmenting increase in open source communities and software developed, as Walli et al. observed[2]. Through his observation, it concludes that there is a definite increase in open source communities and they are taking a wider market share in the software industry. A known fact, but seldom discussed.

2. Research Problem and Objective

Several studies, comparisons and analysis have been conducted on the growth of Open Source software[2][3][4], giving statistical overviews of the number of users over the years, number of different kinds of Open Source software and communities, and revenue generated by the different software[4].

However, there is little information on the factors that sparked the booming interest in Open Source software and the model it represents. Also, because of the large number of software out in the market, both Open Source and proprietary, users are spoilt for choice. However, little has been done to actually determine why users pick Open Source software.

This paper will tackle that very problem, by discussing about the growing interest in Open Source software, the model that is the driving force behind it, how it has revolutionised Computer Science in general, and, also providing a comparison of quality and functionality between Open Source and proprietary software, determining if Open Source technologies are indeed “second-rate” technology that are essentially copies of the proprietary software. The information provided in this paper will cater to the context of computer users in Singapore, where the notion of Open Source software is not mainstream. This research will also be the first of its kind in Singapore. It will give an insight of how the growth of Open Source software in the island nation stands up against the rest of the world....
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