Without open source software (OP) or open source software, the whole world would be different. It was created, for example, the Internet. The work of the World Wide Web is now mostly provided by open source solutions: the server application Apache Web Server, MySQL for databases, the PHP language and the pearl of the crown – the Linux operating system. GCO is a Mozilla Firefox browser, a GIMP graphics editor , OpenOffice, a Microsoft Office analog, an Ubuntu operating system, a Joomla content management system, a Magento or Drupal content management system, a 7-Zip archiver, a FileZilla FTP client and thousands of others.
In order for the software is considered open, his license must meet several requirements. The most recognized are the 10 criteria for the organization of the Open Source Initiative .
They, first of all, dictate that the product license should allow free access to the source code of the program with the possibility of its modification. It must also grant the right to freely distribute and use this software and its derivatives, both free of charge and for money.
In addition, the license must be neutral: do not contain elements of discrimination, do not be tied to a particular product or technology.
The term ” open source software” is often referred to in connection with the term “free software”. Some believe that these terms are practically synonymous. Others – that between them lies the abyss.
Free software principles stipulate that it must ensure freedom of four members:
- freedom of any use;
- freedom of study, adaptation and modification;
- freedom to copy and distribute the program;
- freedom to change, improve and spread their changes.
It is curious that, contrary to the philistine opinion, neither one nor the other concept implies free-of-charge. Both free and open source software are often distributed free of charge, but sometimes it is monetized, and this does not contradict the rules.
For example, a supplier may offer a free base and a more extended paid version of the development or ask the user to contribute the amount at his discretion. For free software there is a shortcut – freeware . The source code for such products can be both closed and open.
Despite internal differences, adherents of both free and open source act as a united front against another cluster – proprietary, or proprietary.
The source code for these programs, applications or systems is completely closed, and the license severely limits their distribution and use. Microsoft Office, Windows, Adobe (Photoshop, InDesign) – all this proprietary software.
Computer science was born on the basis of an open and unhindered exchange of information. Its pioneers, the first computer hackers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, worked on IBM machines or self-made computers in an atmosphere of free circulation of ideas and collective production. Access to existing programs could be obtained by opening, for example, a scientific journal.
With the beginning of the mass dissemination of computer technology, commercial interests began to come to the fore. In 1976, Bill Gates spoke with the famous “Open Letter to Amateurs” , in which he expressed extreme outrage at the way they deal with “piracy” and violate copyrights of software vendors. Companies began to hide the source code of their products more often. By the mid-1980s, most of the software was proprietary.
The response of the computer community to the growing estrangement and individualism was the movement of free software. Its central figure is Richard Stallman , a programmer and a fighter for the freedom of access to technology.
In 1983, he founded the GNU Project with the idea of giving people the opportunity to use their computers and software without any restrictions. He also founded the Free Software Foundation, which now approves open source software licenses .
The most common of these is the GNU General Public License . Stallman’s project was developing free software analogs of the main proprietary software, necessary for the computer. Its main development is the GNU / Linux operating system . Its Linux kernel was developed by the programmer Linus Torvalds .
In 1997, a programmer Eric Raymond published an article “The Cathedral and the Bazaar.” In it, he discussed the technical and production advantages of an open model of software product development, which he called the “bazaar model.”
His essay became a new starting point in this whole story. The company Netscape impressed by the arguments of Raymond published the code of its product Navigator. Now it forms the basis of Mozilla Firefox browsers.
Prior to this event, large software vendors were not very interested in the ideas of open source. Moreover, it was considered a hostile trend, undermining the industry. As many believed, the reasons were hidden in the duality of the English concept of free software – “free software”, because the word “free” often means “free”. And it was not interested in the option to distribute their product for free.
In 1998, the term was rebranded. Then a number of activists decided to depart from the views of Stallman and others, who defended the right of the user to do with the software everything that his heart desires.
They proposed an alternative and more pragmatic approach. It was “forged” a new concept – “open source software” without an ideological component. Its author is Bruce Perens .
To promote the new concept, the Open Source Initiative was founded . It had to become a marketing tool for the former free, and now open software, and submit it exclusively in terms of practical utility.
Stallman and a number of his associates did not accept the new term, considering that he betrays the principles of freedom of technology. In the new definition, emphasis was placed on the technical merits and economic benefits of an open and decentralized development model.
Among others, for example, the lower cost of production of such software was quoted because of the cheapness of the initial developments, and also greater reliability, since a large number of people could monitor the quality of the code. And it worked.
Open software movement today
Bob Young , the head of Red Hat , one of the largest open source software vendors, said back in 1999: “The revolution is over, the revolutionaries have won.” The final triumph of RAO was again discussed last year, when Microsoft, which in 2001 called the open source movement “cancer disease”, received a platinum membership in the Linux Foundation . By the way, in 2017 the company became the official sponsor of the Open Source Initiative .
For 20 years, the GRO has evolved from an exotic fruit to a mainstream and a standard. If in 1998, PBO has used only about 10 percent of the IT-companies, according to a survey Future of Open Source in 2015, 78 percent of respondents have used it in the work, and two-thirds – to create solutions to their customers based on the PBO. Moreover, the number of companies participating in the development of open source projects reached 64 percent.
To the merits of GCO include, in particular, its lower cost than proprietary analogues. According to estimates , the GRO allowing businesses to save around 60 billion dollars a year.
Another strong point of open source is the possibility of constant supervision by a large community of experts. In fact, the GCO erases the boundary between the user and the developer. As a result, anyone can improve the code or close the vulnerability.
This collective effort ensures a high level of reliability of the GCO. In addition, such software is unique in terms of flexibility. It can be rewritten, modified, customized to fit your needs or customer requirements.
A huge number of open source projects starts and continues to live on the GitHub web service , which serves these initiatives for free. They place their repositories literally everyone who somehow supports open source software, from Facebook and Google to US government departments.
In 2016, specially for the latest White House has developed rules for the transition to the open method of development . According to them, all the code written for one federal agency should be available to other federal agencies. Moreover, 20 percent of this code should be placed in universal access. However, while this part of the project is working in the pilot mode.
Recently, the hottest topic in the field of open source – a set of programs OpenStack cloud storage and services. Now it is supported by about 500 companies. According to a SUSE poll, 81 percent of developers use or plan to start using OpenStack.
Open source as a philosophy
Modern GCO has reached capacity, quality and penetration level, exceeding the characteristics of any proprietary software. As many believe, the ideas behind the open-source concept – information availability, collaboration and openness – have become a philosophy and spill over from the computer world, turning into an “open source culture”. Some speculate that it largely overlaps with the idea of an open society as it relates to transparency.
Thus, the operating time for the open source movement can be attributed, for example, Wikipedia or license the Creative Commons , the creation of which the authors have inspired the idea of the GNU by Project. Project “Gutenberg” or Open Textbook Library , publishing textbooks with an open license, are examples of open source code in education.
OpenTripPlanner allows you to plan routes. Solutions based on it are now being tested in Helsinki, Valencia, New York, Poznan. Arduino produces electronics, including a dancing robot-maker of open source. Openmoko is a project for open-cell mobile phones.
In 2017, IKEA announced the release of an open source couch . Third parties will have the opportunity to improve and refine it. There are even open-source cola and free beer , whose recipes are published under the GNU license .
Open source solutions can be found everywhere: in medicine, for example, OpenEMR for the management of medical histories and catalogs, robotics and other design of physical objects. The industry trend is called an open design .
The author of the Guardian and social entrepreneur Jeff Cox believes that the ideas of GBO can inspire a new style of doing business and promote social entrepreneurship. He distinguishes three universal characteristics of the movement of open source code:
- an open exchange of ideas and knowledge. This approach, according to Cox, can accelerate innovation in any field;
- satisfaction from cooperation. Open source motivates thousands of talented people to work together to improve. Thus, the PBO “revives the strength of the collective and mutual assistance”;
- GCO is a living proof of the existence of successful business models that lead to the creation of a free or affordable product or service. As Cox writes, standard “profit-and-search-based” pairs “producer-consumer” are replaced with “cooperating communities”.
The ideas of open source code perfectly sums up OpenSource.com, calling them a system of views on life :
“ Open source means willingness to share, collaborate with others in a transparent manner (so that others can observe and join the work), perceive failure as a way to become better, convince others to do the same. It means playing an active role in improving the world around, which is possible only when every person has access to its structure. Around so many “source code” – drawings, recipes, rules. They define our life and behavior. We believe that this “code” should be open and public, so that as many people as possible can make a contribution to its improvement. “