Open source software is like someone you don’t care about. But, on the other hand, you can’t live without her/him. In the world of technology, open source exists in nearly every platform. On the mobile platform we have Android as the most popular mobile operating system. On the web platform there is Apache web server that powers most websites you access.
I have been an open source user for years and never stop falling in love with it. I use Ubuntu on my daily basis, as well as Android. By far, I am able to get everything done with open source. And now, with the massive growth of SaaS, I am getting more convinced that I don’t need to use desktop-based proprietary software to get my tasks done.
Open source is something addicting. Once you get in, it’s hard to get out. Below are 4 things about open source you haven’t probably known.
1. Not all free software are open source. And vice versa
Open source software is often associated with free software. And vice versa. Many still think that all free software meaning open source. Despite open source software has a close relation with free software, not all open source software are free. Commonly, an open source developer adopts certain business model to make money from open source software. Red Hat and Android are the examples of how open source software can generate a money in a huge amount.
Meanwhile, there are some people who still haven’t known that not all free software are open source. Recently, I read an article about open source web browser. How surprised I am when I see Google Chrome on the list. Dude, Google Chrome is not an open source software. It’s right that it is a free software, but Google didn’t even release the source code!
2. All open source software are released under a certain open source license
There are hundreds of open source license. But, they all have one thing in common. All open source licenses allow open source users to use, study, make change and redistribute an open source software for any purpose. Including commercial if it possible.
Open source software developers can choose which is the license that is best suited for their software. GNU General Public License (GPL), Apache License, Mozilla Public License are the examples of popular open source license. For example, Linux — the most popular open source project — is released under the GNU General Public License v2.0.
3. There are two types of open source software
In general, there are two types of open source software in terms development. Ones that are developed by company and ones that are developed by community (or individual). Ubuntu and WordPress are the examples of the popular open source projects that are developed and maintained by companies.
Meanwhile, Firefox is the example popular open source product that is developed and maintained by community. Mozilla, the community behind Firefox, is known as the biggest open source community in the planet.
4. Some open source communities work remotely
You might be wondering. How can an open source community work together while they don’t physically meet? We have the internet technology. Remember?. But, what tool the open source communities use to collaborate?
Well, the way open source communities collaborate might can be vary since there are tens of tool they can take advantage of. Git, for instance. It is version control system that can be used for tracking changes in computer files and coordinating work on those files among multiple people. This tool was created by Linus Torvalds, the creator or Linux, with the aim to ease the Linux kernel development.
Git is a command line-based tool. In the web platform, there is GitHub as the popular version control system. There are many other tools you can use if you want to collaborate in an open source development. Git and GitHub are just examples.