What’s revolutionary about open source libraries?

As enterprises are moving to agile methodologies, open source becomes more valuable, and there are more tools available to them. If you look at new software developers entering the market today, they are trained to be very
comfortable with open source technologies.

Open Source

This article will give you some sense of what is open source and how open source played and still continues to play a vital role to the world’s technology infrastructure.

So are you ready to dive deep into open source and really understand what Open source is? or How did it come to existence and what are its advantages?

History of Open source

The term open source software dates back only to 1998, the concept of freely sharing the source through various applications, programs, hardware device, drivers, etc. dates back to at least the 1950’s in the early years of the computer age.

Evolution of Open Source

Let’s have brief look at the evolution of open source

1950

  • Software was often very strongly coupled to the hardware and not distributed.
  • Licensing was sloppy.

1960

  • There were advances in hardware and computer science very important early research labs, particularly Bell Labs and Xerox.
  • The Internet was born in 1968 with the beginning of ARPANET, and the UNIX operating system began in 1969.

1970

  • Some of the important Open source projects were released.
  • Emacs was written by Richard Stallman as a text editor, Richard Stallman has been a very important figure in the history of Open Source. He’s the founder of the Free Software Foundation and the GNU project.

1980

  • Explosion of the Internet and of Open source software in general.
  • Existence of the GNU project was announced to provide alternatives to UNIX software that were freely available.
  • X Window System which provided the graphical desktop basis for almost all Linux distributions was released.

1990

  • The birth of Linux which was created by Linus.
  • Python was released and other variants of open operating systems, such as 386BSD, were release.
  • Red Hat was released as the first distribution company.
  • Ruby language, The Apache web server which is a part of KDE and GNOME desktops was released.
  • Netscape released its source, so that other could contribute.
  • Firefox, open office a full featured office suite that was available across many operating systems.

2000

  • Birth of Ubuntu and Firefox.
  • Git source control.
  • Android, which is based on Linux kernel, was released in 2007, and today the largest number of phones in the world are based on Android.
  • Chrome browser, its predecessor was released.

Above were some of the major milestones in the history of open source.

What is open source?

“Open source refers to any program whose source code is made available for use or modification as users or other developers see fit. Open source software is usually developed as a public collaboration and made freely available.”

Open source doesn’t mean it’s free

Over the past decade, Open source code has become the driving force for innovations and basis for Open source developments. Open source libraries have significant power over proprietary libraries.

Open Source speeds development, lowers costs, and keeps companies on the cutting edge of technology by facilitating innovation. Open source communities provide a low-cost medium for incubation and testing of new capabilities.

Below are the few key factors which revolutionize Open Source Libraries or why Open source?

Quality & Reliability

Quality is imperative for the success of a software project. Boehm defines software quality as “achieving high levels of user satisfaction, portability, maintainability, robustness and fitness for use”. Another way of definition is “the absence of defects that would make software either stop completely or produces unacceptable results”.

A survey report asking 200 leading tech companies about their concern for using open source, the primary concern turned out to be was Quality (53%).

To cite you with an example there was a major bug in OpenSSL cryptography library when almost two thirds of the global worldwide web servers were using the library. It took two years and a security expert from Google to discover the flaw.

There are many such examples of bugs found in widely used Open Source codes. Does it mean fewer bugs or security issues? Not necessarily. What makes a difference is the amount of resources (both human and time) spent on testing and auditing the software.

Reliability and quality of open source software may be the main concern for the most users. Users not only want high reliable product but often desire to check the quantitative estimation of the reliability of the open source product.

Security & Stability

Code, software, reference material, documentation, and community all working to secure the world’s software.

Security and privacy are complicated things. This is why open source libraries is a key factor and a precondition for creating secure solutions.

When development happens in the open, you can directly verify if a vendor is actively pursuing security and privacy and watch how it treats issues. So beside code, open development means that an open processes is followed. A process where you can see and check whether mandatory baselines and principles are used.

To increase and improve security and protect our privacy open source solutions are more and more seen as a very good solution.

The Linux Foundation reports that 31 billion lines of code have been committed to open source repositories.

Who’s using all that open source code? Everybody. According to the latest Black Duck report, open source components are now present in 96 percent of commercial applications.

Adaptability & Customization

Adaptability is one of the key benefits of open source but it requires investment in capacity building.

I feel that the adaptation needed to quickly respond to changing information needs is both difficult and expensive. Sometimes proprietary systems die entirely.

The ability to realize this perception of easier and cheaper adaptability is dependent on relatively expensive open-source capacity-building.

Customization is all about using a piece of open source code and tailor it to suit their needs. Since the code is open, it’s simply a matter of modifying it to add the functionality they want.

The incredible rate of Adaptability and customization in the mobile communications space is only possible through OSS. Although Android is the primary example, even proprietary platforms like Apple’s iOS are largely built from open source components, like BSD Unix.

Easier Evaluation

What you (or your developers) see is what you get. Full transparency of a source code allows your team to examine and evaluate a product learning about its capabilities and flaws.

Freedom & Flexibility

Freedom also comes through strong open source capacity. To build that capacity is more than training one, or even a few, developers. It requires the development of a capacity-building engine that will continue to generate skilled analysts and developers.

One more reason to use open source libraries is their Flexibility. There is no linkage of code to open specific person or developer, it offers a wide range of capabilities.

So the developer can choose only those functions that meet their requirements or to create the new function just changing the source code since open source software license makes such actions possible.

Community

Community is diverse and highly motivated.

Unlike traditional projects that require physical resources, sharing economies are generally only hindered by the number of people contributing to an effort and their ability to acquire and share knowledge.

Where collaborative use actually enriches resources and the organizations that adopt them.

Ongoing collaborative community support and maintenance — healthy Open Source communities provide ongoing support and encourage input and suggestions for improvements.

Below factors in the success of open source libraries.

The main implication of the above characteristics described is that open source libraries have evolved to develop software that meets developers needs on the other hand, Open source libraries, with its reliance on self-interested developers.

Conclusion

Using open source libraries and components may be reasonable for organizations and businesses of all sizes. Benefits include the freedom of distribution, the ability to modify or extend software capabilities, and possible development cost savings, to name a few.

In today’s rapidly evolving markets, companies that consistently innovate, most quickly, at the least cost, will win. NOT USING open source software may place your organization at a disadvantage.

It’s time to invest in Open source. We can help, we want to help, and we will help, please reach us out at info@applibgroup.dev

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