What is “Open Source Software”? As the name suggests, Open Source Software is computer software that has it source code made open and available. To get this software, one must have a license in which the original copyright holder of the software gives you the rights to study the software, modify or change it and even distribute it to anyone and for any reason. These softwares are normally developed in a collective manner, together. It is more like user-generated content that is readily available for use for everyone.
The Open Source Softwares are made by many people together and distributed to others under a licensed agreement. It is due to this very reason that this model of software production is extremely profitable from a monetary point of view. Not only that, you get the best of skills and expertise of different people who work on this software. This ensures that the best of efforts are put into creating the software and the scope of creation, design and development becomes really wide. Especially if one compares it to how much one software development company could afford to do alone and sustain alone. It is no surprise that there was a report released by the Standish Group in 2008 which said that due to the adoption of the Open Source Software model, there has been a saving of around $60 billion per year to consumers.
There are several advantages of following the Open Source Software model.
1) The Open Source Software model achieves greater and more penetration into the market. The firms that are offering this open source software are easily able to establish an extremely superior industry standard which tends to give them an advantage over their competitors.
2) Open Source Softwares helps in building loyalty as there are multiple developers who are involved in it. Each of them feels a sense of pride and ownership when it comes to the product.
3) Open Source Software ensures that the companies are kept up to date with
the developments in the world of technology. It also aids in the promotion of the image of a company.
4) The Open Source Software model ensures that companies are able to produce high quality software which is reliable, for a relatively low expenditure.
5) There is no trademark mechanism for the Open Source Software model. Due to this, there is scope for more innovation and also the technology used can be as flexible as the developers like. This also results in the software becoming more foolproof and reliable as in a typical set up, there are hundreds of independent developers and programmers who are working on the Open source software, are testing it for glitches, fixing the same etc. This in turn gives space for building of custom interfaces, addition of newer functions and makes the whole set up extremely innovative as there is a mix of the expertise, ambitions, corporate objectives as well as the sheer interest of multiple people involved here.
6) As the software is free, it can be developed without thinking about the pressure of commercials, which very often ends up as the main reason in the decrease in the software quality.
More and more companies are realising the value of this model and hence are encouraging workers to participate in the same. There are also activities like crowd-funding etc that have been started in order to lend further support to this model.
One thing is for sure – The Open Source Software model is here to stay and has an extremely bright future!