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What is open source and why is it so important?

March 18, 2018
In this post we will talk about open source: what is this term? and also: why is it so important today? ENTERS!

In this post we will talk about Open Source: What is this term? and also: why is it so important today? ENTERS!



Welcome to another new post. Have you ever heard of the term "open source"? Many programmers in the community also refer to it as "Open Source Code", which is actually the same in Spanish. I am sure that if you have investigated the code, you will have heard one of these 2 terms, and today you will learn what it is, why it is so important and what its benefits are. Without further ado, let's get started!

Article index

What is open source?

Open source is software that is accessible to anyone who wants to know its source code, in addition to being able to operate or integrate it into their own work, but without ceasing to give credit to the person or group of people who did that work.

The most influential thing about open source is that if you want to collaborate with the people who develop it, you can do it in the vast majority of projects. All developers have the same purpose when working on an open source project:

Provide the world with free and usable software.

I will leave you the following analogy so that you understand this concept perfectly:

When you create a recipe, you distribute it to a community for free. You accept that other people modify it and try to improve it, but under certain conditions, that they notify you of those changes and that they do not take your original credit.

Under these conditions that I left you in the previous analogy, open source projects are usually launched under "licenses" that regulate what you can do and what you cannot do with that code. In GitHub, you will find MANY open source projects, and the vast majority of them are launched under certain rules that have already been defined by an international community. Next, I leave you a list of the most popular licenses in open source projects:

Most common open source licenses (I will present 3):

GNU General Public License version 2 (GPLv2):

It is the most popular open source license of all. It takes a 26% of the entire fee. Currently there is version 3, but it brought a lot of criticism, and that is why version 2 is still the queen, the one that takes all the most relevant open source projects. Among the most prominent using this license are: the Linux kernel, MySQL and WordPress. In the following image, I leave you what you can or cannot do with a software that contains this license (it is in English):

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Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) License:

It is the second most popular license. Has a 19% fee of open source projects, and many use it to protect certain things, related to patents. Some very thick projects that run under this license is the .NET release by Microsoft, the Xorg graphical server, and its successor Wayland. Here is what you can and cannot do with an open source project that runs under the MIT license (it is also in English):


Apache version 2.0 license:

It is the third most popular. It takes a fee from 16%. It is used in the projects of the Apache foundation itself, and among the most popular are OpenOffice, and also the Android system itself runs under it. I leave you what you can do and what not in the following image (the same, it is in English):


It is already clear to us what it is, now we can go on to answer our next question:

Why is open source so important?

Open source is too important because thanks to this we can highlight the following points:

  • Large-scale projects: open source creates thick and very comprehensive projects for your community. An example is: WordPress.
  • Better maintenance: If the project is serious, your community will be constantly making important changes.
  • Works made with love for all: they are projects that anyone can use under certain conditions.
  • Ideas that change everything: Among the developer community, brilliant ideas to improve the software can be given.

As I mentioned, an open source project is generally supported by a serious community, committed to improving it and making it more and more functional and accessible to its public, it is a very important point too.

That is why it is so important that open source is present in this industry. So, knowing its meaning and importance, let's move on to the last question:

Knowing all this, would you be part of an open source project? Yes? No? Why? We invite you to put your opinion in the comments!

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