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What Is Open Source Software And How Can You Use It For Business?

However, allowing them to do so without any formal acquisition process in place means courting significant risks ranging from security risks to legal risks. Likewise, open source licenses and policies can have a huge impact on an organization’s control over technology and intellectual property portfolios. In addition, for open source projects that also have commercial editions, it is worth considering whether external stakeholders should be involved in governance. The increasing customizability and security offered by OSS, in combination with its low cost, is driving the growing adoption by businesses. Lots of organizations as well as service importance of open source software providers such as IBM, Hewlett Packard are already doing business with all the open source software. In addition to that, the advances in OSS will provide new capabilities for SME in terms of their operations and the products and services they provide to clients. It is expected that businesses will increasingly turn to OSS solutions in order to meet their business needs and remain competitive in the market. Technology should be carefully selected to actively grow business over the long term, so it requires careful consideration and foresight. Open source has been gaining popularity or a long time due to the benefits it comes with.

But in the case of open source, the community isn’t just a fanbase that buys in to an elite user group; it’s the people who produce, test, use, promote, and ultimately affect the software they love. “Source code” is the part of software that most computer users don’t ever see; it’s the code computer programmers can manipulate to change how a piece of software—a “program” or “application”—works. Programmers who have access to a computer program’s source code can improve that program by adding features to it or fixing parts that don’t always work correctly. The term originated in the context of software development to designate a specific approach to creating computer programs. If you are an Internet user , you inevitably use an unbelievable amount of free software open source. The Internet inventors designed a huge share of it as open source projects, and anyone using it today reaps the fruits of their effort. For instance, cloud computing is largely based on open source contributions.

Defining Open Source Software Oss

With the usage of open source products, users find more options to enjoy than its counterpart. Additionally, there is more value than you would imagine when you use a product developed under the open-source approach. A common advantage that steers most people into using open source software is its freeness to everyone. Generally, not everyone would spend an extra coin on some of the software products. Examine which projects other organizations in your industry contribute to.

importance of open source software

Expensive consultant teams are necessary for integration and extensions. With Open Source Software, the source code of the software is fully accessible. Today, more and more corporations look to Community Open Source or Enterprise Open Source. Community-based Open Source generally provides basic, core features at no license fee.

Background On The Millennium Villages Project

Prime examples of open-source products are the Apache HTTP Server, the e-commerce platform osCommerce, internet browsers Mozilla Firefox and Chromium and the full office suite LibreOffice. One of the most successful open-source products is the GNU/Linux operating system, an open-source Unix-like operating system, and its derivative Android, an operating system for mobile devices. Open-source projects are often loosely organized with “little formalised process modelling or support”, but utilities such as issue trackers are often used to organize open-source software development. Moreover, free software can be developed in accordance with purely technical requirements. It does not require thinking about commercial pressure that often degrades the quality of the software. Commercial pressures make traditional software developers pay more attention to customers’ requirements than to security requirements, since such features are somewhat invisible to the customer.

As a result, popular OSS projects are often on the cutting edge of technology. Finally in a full virtual community based organization where there is no more one or a small number of lead software vendors but a multitude of independent authors, you may decide to allocate the revenues pro-rata the contributions realized. If you have created a commercial company to centrally manage your software asset, you may even think about providing shares to all the key contributors according to their respective efforts. This software might be open source and use the open source development model, but it won’t be free software since it won’t respect the freedom of the users that actually run it. If the open source development model succeeds in making this software more powerful and reliable for restricting you, that will make it even worse. The idea of open source is that allowing users to change and redistribute the software will make it more powerful and reliable. Sometimes they produce a program that is powerful and reliable, even though it does not respect the users’ freedom. Free software activists and open source enthusiasts will react very differently to that.

The use of proprietary software binds companies to the manufacturer in the long term. Vendor lock-in makes changing to alternative offers more difficult due to high exchange costs and high cost for integration, adaptation, and further development. From WordPress, Magento, Apache Hadoop to Blockchain, what is the common thread amongst all of them? The dominant software model for innovation in the new digital economy where ideas take shape with collaborative efforts— companies, individuals, and the community. This makes it such a powerful key building block of all modern enterprise software architectures. The innovation benefits conferred by Open Source have a direct impact on the business value, particularly for early market adopters.

Is it safe to use open source software?

Some people consider open-source software more secure than proprietary software, for a number of reasons (including the “many eyes” myth). As well as providing cost, flexibility, and speed advantages, community-produced projects are generally more transparent about vulnerabilities than proprietary software developers.

However, in February 2019, Redis dropped the Commons Clause and replaced it with a new source-available license creatively named Redis Source Available License . The company determined that a bespoke license was most suitable for the company and its future well-being. Open-source software services using permissive licenses, such as the MIT and Apache 2.0 licenses, have been particularly vulnerable. For example, Amazon, Microsoft, or Google might look at the contributors of their respective open-source projects for future sources of cloud revenue — today’s engaged open-source contributors may become tomorrow’s cloud customers. And while these projects are free to the public and not monetized directly, they are incredibly valuable assets to the sponsoring company. For example, Microsoft’s Visual Studio Code project has over 19,000 contributors in total. With 7,700 total contributions in 2018, Microsoft’s employee contributions to the project are in the minority. Microsoft, Google, Intel, and Facebook — none of which are open-source companies — are actively contributing to various projects on GitHub.

Who Are The Developers Of Open

As long as a GPL program does not embed GPL software into its outputs, a GPL program can process classified/proprietary information. Thus, GPL’ed compilers can compile classified programs , and a GPL’ed implementation of a virtual machine can execute classified software . Similarly, a GPL’ed “engine” program can be controlled by classified data that it reads. In addition, a GPL’ed program can run on top of a classified/proprietary platform when the platform is a separate “System Library” . For at least 7 years, Borland’s Interbase had embedded in it a “back door”; the username “politically”, password “correct”, would immediately give the requestor complete control over the database, a fact unknown to its users. Whether or not this was intentional, it certainly had the same form as a malicious back door. When the program was released as OSS, within 5 months this vulnerability was found and fixed. This shows that proprietary software can include functionality that could be described as malicious, yet remain unfixed – and that at least in some cases OSS is reviewed and fixed. However, the government can release software as OSS when it has unlimited rights to that software. The government is not the copyright holder in such cases, but the government can still enforce its rights.

  • For example, many open source tools are offered in free editions online but also exist in fee-based, supported instances, and it is common for outside contributors to advance platforms and applications that are offered commercially.
  • Hopefully the two sides can findcommon ground in the principle of giving value in return for value.
  • In ACE, for instance, it’s often only a matter of minutes or hours from the point at which a bug is reported from a user to the point at which an official patch is supplied to fix it.
  • The approach that we describe is generic enough to be applied also to different usage scenarios.
  • Find out how the program integrates with your existing software components, what operating systems it’s compatible with.

The license allows modifications, and its terms remain unchanged for distribution of improved versions. My request to admin of this website add more information other most popular software. TrueCrypt really is the best free encryption program around for anyone worried about their security. It offers 11 algorithms for encrypting your files, as well as a comprehensive help manual, which gives advice on complex password creation, hidden volumes and erasing encryption giveaways. It provides you with one window through which you can simultaneously interact with different people, whichever instant messaging platform they’re using.

This allows collaborative software development and levels the playing field with proprietary software development. Estimates are that open source saves businesses around USD $60 billion annually. In this blog, we take a look at some of the benefits and challenges of working with open-source software. Finally several users also raised the risk that a CSS editor may abruptly reject the collaborative source approach once a large community of users is locked to his software. Even if this risk is not limited to CSS project only , it is true that it may become more difficult to fork a CSS program rather than an OSS program. Thanks to the clear segregation among license revenues and professional services revenues , CSS also avoids conflicts as they may today arise between existing system integrators and other commercial open source business players. Free and unlimited access to the source code for all the latest stable releases and to the new version under development. No kind of hidden license cost based on some “yearly community subscriptions” required to get access to the latest stable builds or to the development documentation.

For example, many telecoms are reaping big benefits from open Network Functions Virtualization technology that can eliminate historically proprietary components in telecom technology stacks. Some of these companies work with The Linux Foundation on NFV initiatives and there are severalworking groupsthat focus on NFV. These industry-focused working groups can provide you with valuable guidance. Build a holistic set of goals for your strategy document, with metrics for achievement. Among metrics to track, consider reporting on increases in upstream contributions, cuts to development costs, and increases in recruitment of maintainers. In addition to these metrics, your inventory of business objectives and goals should provide specifics on open source leadership milestones, and project security and performance advancements. Specify how you want developers to contribute code to open source projects, and identify projects that are critical to your business strategy. (And encourage them to contribute!) What if a developer wants to contribute code from one open source project to the one you are working on but the two projects have different licenses? How can your contributions to open source serve a virtuous cycle, so that your projects benefit from contributions in turn?


Thanks for explaining the benefits of open-source software and how it benefits a company. Along with this, there are many other advantages of using open-source software such as greater resource availability, great community support, security, simpler license management, integrated management, easy scalability to name a few. From quantum and blockchain to containers, AI, and operating systems, we are actively leading in today’s most influential projects and creating new projects to push technology forward for tomorrow. End-users shall also be able to predict the long-term cost of owning the software if they have to make some rational choices based on value for money.

One approach that has been shown to address this issue is to distribute the code framework under one name, and trademark a brand name for the operational version, as was done for Google’s Chrome web-browser. The code for Chrome is freely available, but Google circumvents the problem of multiple versions of their application being released by placing the brand name under trademark protection. This gives a legal recourse in the event of rogue developers appropriating the code. The financial burden that is implied by aggressively protecting such a trademark puts it beyond the resources of most hobbyist developers and externally funded researchers. It is also dependant on the trademark name being the one that gains mass traction in the minds of users – Google can easily ensure this by leveraging their tremendous Internet presence. Smaller organisations or individuals usually do not have such resources available. Digital signing of plug-ins, ensuring that new plugins are made available only once they have been approved by some central authority offer a good deal of flexibility in resolving these issues. This is only viable as a solution as long as users are installing the ‘official’ version of the core engine.


In MVP, data compatibility is achieved via standardization and mapping at the data element level. The concept dictionary is shared across all users and acts as a central repository for the definitions of all the data collected. CIEL is responsible for maintaining the dictionary that is currently used by over 32 different organizations in as many different countries. The CIEL dictionary includes enhancements to ensure applicability in the context of primary health care across Sub-Saharan Africa. Modifications can be made through the development of site-specific subsets and requests made by the OpenMRS community for new concepts to be added to the platform. This allows local MVP staff secure, but non-proprietary access to the data collected by MVG-Net. Non-proprietary databases are important for allowing application owners flexibility to update their data collection tools, or move the data whenever necessary. You may use existing industry OSS project hosting services such as SourceForge, Savannah, Tigris, Google code, Apache Software Foundation or Microsoft CodePlex.

Only if they have learned to value the freedom free software gives them, for its own sake. It is up to us to spread this idea—and in order to do that, we have to talk about freedom. A certain amount of the ‘keep quiet’ approach to business can be useful for the community, but we must have plenty of freedom talk too. Revision control systems such as Concurrent Versions System and later Subversion and Git are examples of tools, often themselves open source, help manage the source code files and the changes to those files for a software project. The projects are frequently stored in “repositories” that are hosted and published on source-code-hosting facilities such as Launchpad, GitHub, GitLab, and SourceForge. The Open Source Definition presents an open-source philosophy and further defines the terms of use, modification and redistribution of open-source software. Software licenses grant rights to users which would otherwise be reserved by copyright law to the copyright holder. Several open-source software licenses have qualified within the boundaries of the Open Source Definition. The most prominent and popular example is the GNU General Public License , which “allows free distribution under the condition that further developments and applications are put under the same licence”, thus also free. By using open source software, you can benefit from integrated management.


I believe we are just scratching the surface of the kind of iconic companies that we will see emerge from the open-source gene pool. From one perspective, these companies valued in the billions are a testament to the power of the model. What is clear is that open source is no longer a fringe approach to software. When top companies around the world are polled, few of them intend to have their core software systems be anythingbutopen source. And if the Fortune 5000 migrate their spend on closed source software to open source, we will see the emergence of a whole new landscape of software companies, with the leaders of this new cohort valued in the tens of billions of dollars. The importance of open source software resulting business model of an open-source company looks quite different than a traditional software business. Side-by-side, a closed source software company will generally be able to charge more per unit than an open-source company. That’s why open-source companies have such massive and rapid adoption when they achieve product-market fit. A piece of software created by a team of developers can be lower quality than that developed by thousands of developers from all over the world with experience in different technologies, industries, and projects. And bugs in open source software are identified very quickly as the code is being constantly reviewed by multiple developers.

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