What exactly is open source?
Key Terms to Know
Source code: The part of the software most people do not see or do not give much thought too. The code gives instructions to the “program” or “application” how to work.
Community: Anyone who wants to create, contribute or use open software.
Proprietary software: Software where the code is “concealed” to the users. Examples would be Microsoft Office or Quickbooks.
Open Source Software can be best described as software that is built by the community (usually one person – but can be many) for the community (often thousands, if not millions). The “source code” is then available to be maintained, modified, inspected, documented, and improved by the masses. Creators and contributors are typically programmers, graphic artist, writers, testers and many different types of individuals.
This method of developing software is pretty amazing because the more people see the “application” early on, the faster bugs and other wrinkles can be addressed.
So it is "free?"
The actual program is then distributed freely to anyone who wants to use it. Of course, the software still has rules (licenses) that must be followed. As well as costs that come with the implementation of the software. A technical savvy person usually has to “tweak” the installation, configuration, and other aspects of the program to make it ready for use.
So you can think of the software being free like “puppies” not free like "coffee." You still have a cost associated with owning the puppies, but not quite as high as the alternative of having to go to a kennel.
So why does this all matter to a business owner?
Well, in short, by using open source your total cost of ownership drastically decreases. However, we believe, that is not the most important or the only reason. People prefer using OSS for these other reasons as well:
- Control. They have more control on what features they want to use or not to use. They can examine the code, modify the code and even be a contributor.
- Security. Some people see it as more secure and stable than proprietary software because anyone can spot and correct errors.
- Stability. Users can rest assured that the software will be around for long-term projects. Any programmer can fill in if one leaves the organization.
So how does Wise Ant Technologies benefit from selling Open Source Software?
We do not sell Open Source Software (it is already free). We provide services to install, modify and host the software. We are the nerdy gals and guys that can successfully implement the project for your organization. Important Note: Once the software is installed on your server or the cloud, outsiders can not see the source code.
Get Started on your first project with Wise Ant Technologies!
Video by Intel explaining open source
Video with Legos explaining Open Source
Other links about Open Source
We have compiled a list of links and websites that can educate you more on the subject and benefits of Open Source. They will open in another page.