gothfvck: (Gnu)
[personal profile] gothfvck
Open source means that the code the program is freely available.

Well, great. Why should I care about that?
For one it means people can check the code for malicious lines and make sure nothing harmful will run when the program runs. That also means that more people generally are checking for security vulnerabilities and bugs.
This leads to smoother running programs with more features that are safer to use.

Also they usually don't have a company that has strict deadlines and other strict rules about what they can do with the program. Most of these programs are made by volunteers working in their own time but some such as those made by Mozilla, Red Hat, and Canonical have a full staff. Each project has it's own structure with deadlines, guidelines, and other lines. This allows the groups writing the program to have more freedom and be more creative.

Either way with the code available if somebody wants to go a different direction with the project they're able to do so. This is called "forking" and can be a mess or lead to something amazing.

However not all projects that show their code allow it to be modified and shared. There are many different licenses and some simply show the lines for the sake of transparency.

Many programs run across multiple operating systems; they're cross platform. If you know what you're doing you could port something to your OS or request that someone else does and maybe they will. Some great programs that you may use are built with open source technology such as Firefox, Pidgin, XChat, Vuze, VLC Media Player and LibreOffice.

Software isn't the only thing that's able to be open source. There is also a growing amount of open source hardware. The difference is instead of making code available they make the plans of creating the physical item available. One's digital and one's physical.

Open source is a counter to the restrictions of closed source. It's about embracing freedom. Join in and pass it along!

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