Open Source 101: What Is It?

Open source projects are everywhere, you might not be able to recognize them, but they are all around us, on the Internet, on your laptop, and on your smartphone. In this article, we will focus on:

  • Open source definition
  • Famous open source projects
  • And how to get involved in an open-source project

What is open source software?

Open source softwares (OSS) is a type of computer program whose source code is available for the public. Moreover, it is licensed in such a way that anyone can make changes according to their specification and redistribute the source code.

Generally, open-source software is developed and maintained by a team of software developers. Still, as we mentioned earlier, everyone can access the code and make tweaks to it if they want to.

Anyone who has ever contributed to an open source project understands that it’s an excellent way to become a better developer. It allows you to learn from other developer’s code and learn to write better code yourself. Contributing to an open source project and collaborating with other developers is one of the most enjoyable experiences a developer can have.

Let’s have a look at some of the most popular examples of open source programs. You will be astonished by the sheer volume of such projects and companies behind these softwares, such as Automattic and Google.

Some of the popular examples includes:

Although millions of open source projects are available in the public domain, we will mention some of the prevalent and notable examples.

WordPress: Even if you are hearing about it the first time, you are probably reading this article on a wordpress based website. It is undoubtedly one of the most popular content management systems on the Internet, used by millions.

PHP: Every software developer knows about this programming language; that’s its power. Over 80% of the Internet and social networking sites like Facebook are based on PHP.

Audacity: It is a popular, free, easy-to-use, multi-track audio editor and recorder.

OpenOffice: Those who want to experience something new and don’t want to pay a hefty fee for Microsoft Office can opt for the same.

Android Open Source: This project is the official mobile operating system based on an open source project.

Firefox: It is a discontinued mobile operating system developed and maintained by Mozilla.

How open source works

Usually, all open source projects consist of three stages. Let’s take a closer look at each step:

Stage 1. Assistance

Suppose you want to get accumulated with an open-source project. In that case, you should start forming contact with the organization behind the program itself and enquire about all the opportunities they have. This method is suited for small-scale projects or startups. However, it should be noted that most often, open-source projects don’t pay for the work, and everything is done voluntarily.

Typically, when you want to work on an open-source project on a voluntary basis, you need to wait for weeks before you receive a response. This is essential because it takes time for all the essential confirmation emails to be accepted.

In contrast, if you want to work on large-scale projects, you can simply start coding and creating your version of the programs. However, it would help if you were wary of the fact that multiple people can be working on the same software as you. So it is not mandatory that your work may be included in the final product, so be prepared for rejection, it’s a regular occurrence in an open-source business.

If you are looking to find open source libraries or inspiration for your next project, there are tons of exciting projects out there, especially on the sites like SourceForge, GitHub, and Google Code.

Before you start working on a live project, it is necessary to be familiar with its working and structure, so you know where to ask for help if you get stuck with anything. Moreover, it is also recommended to check everything before starting the project so you don’t get confused with its structure or spend time working out a feature that someone else is already working on.

Stage 2: Commit

After selecting the project, you’ve made the necessary modifications or implemented the feature you wanted. The next important thing is to commit your changes to the main program and send them to the senior developers for testing.

You can efficiently perform this step using platforms such as GitHub or SourceForge. Usually, you will receive a yes or no kind of response from the company responsible for the development of the project. This will make it clear if your changes are going to be included in the project or not. If it’s accepted, then you need to move on to the propagation stage. If not, find packages and return back to the development stage.

Stage 3. Dissemination

This is the stage when things start getting complicated, and now you need to distribute the open-source project. It is the last stage when the final version of the program is uploaded to the repository where the software was hosted, and updated non-developer versions are made public. This is the last step when the company and developers involved with the project bid their adieu to their hard work and turned it over to the public for public use, and of course, critics.

These are all steps involved in developing an open source project, and now, hopefully, you are more confident about its development course and how you can contribute to it from your side.  Open sources are undoubtedly fun but sometimes very frustrating. The main thing to keep in mind is to keep going and not give up when you hit an obstacle.

About the Company:

At kandi.openweaver, browse popular software libraries by industry/technology, catching up with what’s trending by awesome libraries collections, and all details to build great software applications. Get ratings, code snippets & documentation for each library.