Open Source

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A Definition of Open Source

Open source technology is defined as the production and development philosophy of allowing end users and developers to not only see the source code of software, but modify it as well. The Linux operating system is a one of the best-known examples of open source software technology.

Pros and Cons of Open Source for Developers

From a developer’s point of view, open source technologies provide a platform on which to build custom solutions. Rather than develop, say, an entire proprietary operating system, developers can build and improve upon the already existing open source Linux operating system platform. In this way, more time is spent on the specific task to be solved rather than getting the system up and running to the point where it is stable and reliable. Unfortunately, this means that other developers have access to the developer’s work and can easily create a competing product. One of the reasons why Microsoft has such a huge market share of the operating system industry is because its software operates on a closed source paradigm; no one but those people privy to the source code can customize Windows. In addition, developers must be prepared to have their work publicly scrutinized. Almost everything in open source is viewable by other developers. If a developer makes a major mistake, it can become public information and tarnish the developer’s reputation

Business Utilization of Open Source Software

Open source software is used in many businesses and is used in more ways then people realize.   The idea behind open source is the development of high quality, reliable and low-cost software. Some of the organizations using open source software include Travelocity, Wikipedia, and the US Postal Service. Some the widely used applications include Apache web service, Vyatta, 7zip and Open Office. 

Open system vs. closed system.

Closed systems such as Microsoft products are the property of the company who developed and is protected under patents or copyright laws. The codes and languages that the products are based on are kept secret and the source codes are not visible. With closed source it is also illegal to copy, redistribute or change the code in any way. Open source however, is the opposite. Open source software must fall under certain licensing conditions and the codes are able to be viewed and changed by users and developers in order to meet there needs. There are pros and cons to both open and closed source though, for instance with a closed source application support can be more easily obtained and updates can be quickly distributed. The cost of these applications and software can be much greater then that of open source. With Open Source programs and software can be freely downloaded but the support is what the user may need to pay for. For instance you can download a program for free but in order to get some updates you may need to pay a subscription fee or a fee for support.

What is open source software?
A software that is governed by a license that is either approved by the open source initiative or follows the open source definition can be considered to be an open source software. The basic principles of the open source definition are: 1. Freedom to re-distribute software;

2. Availability of source code;
3. Freedom to copy and modify;
4. License travels with the software;
No discrimination based on technology, field or hardware; and so on.

Examples of open source software

Web-related

▪ Apache Cocoon — a web application framework
▪ Apache — the most popular web server
▪ BookmarkSync — a tool for browsers
▪ CougarXML — a Javascript framework for parsing and manipulating XML code. ▪ curl-loader - a powerful HTTP/HTTPS/FTP/FTPS loading and testing open-source tool ▪ HTTP File Server — a user friendly file server software with a drag and drop interface ▪ Distributed ICDL Crawler — an open source web crawler based on Website Parse...
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