Open source Software
Open Source: Explanation, Pros and Cons
9 min read

You think coding and learning to code is hard, expensive and maybe not for you? “Open source” world will change your mind! Whether you’re a curious beginner or a seasoned developer, open source has something for everyone. Let’s unlock its secrets and explore the possibilities in our blog right after!

Some brief explanation about Open Source

The word “open” signifies the free availability to the public, and developers are encouraged to view, modify, and share it openly.

 

The “source” refers to the source code of a program, which is the human-readable instructions. By making the source code open and accessible, the development process becomes more transparent and collaborative. 

 

The term was officially introduced in 1998 when a group of individuals gathered to create the Open Source Initiative (OSI) and formulated the “Open Source Definition.” This definition outlines the criteria that software must meet to be considered open source. Since then, the term has become widely adopted and is now associated with a broader philosophy of collaborative development and community-driven innovation beyond just software.

Common misconception about Open Source

These softwares are inferior in quality

This is often untrue. Open source projects benefit from a global community of developers who scrutinize and improve the code. This can lead to a higher quality product compared to software developed by a smaller team behind closed doors.

Less secure.

Many believe that exposing the source code makes it easier for hackers to exploit vulnerabilities. In reality, the openness can lead to faster identification and patching of bugs, as multiple eyes scrutinize the code. Large communities can react quickly to security threats.

It is free, meaning there’s no support.

While many open source projects are offered without a price tag, “free” refers to the freedom to use and modify the software, not necessarily its cost. Paid support options often exist through companies or individuals specializing in specific open source solutions.

Only for geeks and hobbyists.

Major corporations like Google, Facebook, and IBM heavily rely on open source software. It’s used in diverse fields like finance, healthcare, and even critical infrastructure. While technical knowledge can be helpful, many user-friendly open source alternatives exist for various needs.

Contributing to open source is difficult and requires immense coding skills.

Many projects welcome contributions beyond code, like documentation, testing, and even financial support. Even beginners can find ways to participate and learn valuable skills in the process.

Benefits of Open Source Contributions

For developers, open source offers a multitude of benefits:

Technical Advantages:

  • Leverage existing code, saving time and effort on basic functionalities.
  • Open code allows community scrutiny, leading to faster bug fixes and improved security.
  • Contribute to and learn from other developers, enhancing skills and knowledge.
  • Easily modify code to fit specific needs without vendor restrictions.
  • Open platform encourages trying new ideas and contributing to cutting-edge projects.

 

Besides, open source can help developers in their personal networking and career development in such ways:

  • Build connections with other developers, leading to potential collaborations and opportunities.
  • Be part of the cutting edge by keeping up with actively developed open-source technologies.

Benefits for Open Source Companies:

While the primary focus of open source is not profit, companies offering open-source products can still benefit:

  • Reduced Development Costs: Leverage community contributions for development and bug fixes, saving resources.
  • Faster Feature Development: Large community can identify and address needs, accelerating development.
  • Increased Adoption and Market Share: Free offerings attract users and developers, leading to wider adoption.
  • Talent Acquisition: Open-source involvement helps attract skilled developers due to transparency and community interaction.
  • Brand Building and Credibility: Contributing to open-source projects fosters goodwill and positions the company as a technology leader.

Some famous real world Open source software products

  1. LibreOffice: An office suite that includes word processing, spreadsheet, presentation, drawing, database, and formula applications. It is compatible with Microsoft Office formats and offers a similar user interface.
  2. Mozilla Firefox: A web browser that is known for its privacy and security features. It is also highly customizable and offers a wide range of extensions.
  3. VLC media player: A media player that can play almost any type of video or audio file. It is also lightweight and resource-efficient.
  4. GIMP: An image editor that is a powerful alternative to Photoshop. It offers a wide range of features, including photo editing, illustration, and animation.
  5. Krita: A painting program that is popular among digital artists. It offers a wide range of brushes, tools, and features, and has a user-friendly interface.
  6. Blender: A 3D creation suite that includes modeling, animation, rendering, simulation, compositing, and motion tracking. It is a powerful tool that is used by professionals and hobbyists alike.
  7. Audacity: An audio editor that can be used for recording, editing, and mixing audio. It is a popular choice for podcasters, musicians, and sound designers.
  8. Scribus: A desktop publishing application that can be used to create professional-looking brochures, flyers, posters, and magazines. It offers a wide range of features, including layout, typography, and image editing.
  9. MySQL: A relational database management system that is popular for web applications. It is a powerful and scalable database that is used by millions of websites around the world.
  10. Linux: An operating system that is a popular alternative to Windows and macOS. It is a powerful and versatile operating system that is used by millions of people around the world.

Let’s dig into some open source software. First, we will talk about Blender, which is a powerful and trending alternative to 3Ds Max or Autodesk Maya. 

Blender 3D is a free and open-source 3D creation suite used by professionals and hobbyists alike to create:

  • Animations:
    • Short films and feature films like “Big Buck Bunny”
    • Visual effects for movies and TV shows
    • Motion graphics for marketing and advertising
  • 3D Models:
    • For 3D printing
    • For video games
    • For product design and visualization
  • Virtual Reality:
    • Creating VR experiences
    • Designing VR assets
  • And much more!

 

What makes Blender special?

  • No licensing fees and full control over your work.
  • Comprehensive feature set: Modeling, animation, rendering, simulation, compositing, motion tracking, video editing, and more.
  • Cross-platform: Works on Windows, macOS, and Linux.
  • Highly customizable: Python API allows for deep customization and automation.
  • Active and supportive community: Plenty of resources and tutorials available online.

 

Key features of Blender 3D:

  • Modeling: Powerful tools for creating and manipulating 3D models, including sculpting, polygonal modeling, and metaballs.
  • Animation: Create complex animations with rigging, skinning, and a robust animation system.
  • Rendering: Achieve stunningly realistic or stylized visuals with Cycles and Eevee render engines.
  • Simulation: Create realistic simulations of fluids, smoke, soft bodies, and more.
  • Compositing: Combine rendered images and video with other elements to create final compositions.
  • Motion Tracking: Integrate real-world footage into your 3D scenes.
  • Video Editing: Basic video editing capabilities.

 

Getting started with Blender 3D:

 

Another software we want to show more in this blog is Medusa Js, which is a considerable alternative to Shopify

 

Medusa.js is a set of open-source tools and modules that empower developers to build flexible, customizable, and performant commerce applications. It provides pre-built components for essential e-commerce features like:

  • Products & Variants: Manage product information, pricing, variants, and more.
  • Carts & Checkouts: Create streamlined shopping experiences with customizable cart features and checkout flows.
  • Orders & Fulfillment: Manage orders, process payments, and integrate with fulfillment providers.
  • Customers & Authentication: Manage customer accounts, addresses, and implement various authentication methods.
  • Promotions & Discounts: Create and manage coupons, discounts, and other promotional offers.
  • Admin Dashboard: Manage your store through a user-friendly web-based admin panel.

 

Key benefits of using Medusa.js:

  • No vendor lock-in and full control over your commerce stack.
  • Modular and composable: Use only the modules you need and integrate them with your existing tech stack.
  • Highly customizable: Customize the behavior and appearance of your store to fit your specific needs.
  • Modern technology: Built with Node.js for performance and scalability.
  • Large and active community: Access support and resources from a vibrant developer community.

 

Who is Medusa.js for?

  • Developers looking for a flexible and customizable platform to build e-commerce stores.
  • Businesses that want to avoid vendor lock-in and have full control over their commerce solution.
  • Developers who want to build unique commerce experiences beyond traditional e-commerce stores.

“Open source” term in other industry

Hardware:

Open-source hardware designs for 3D printers, such as RepRap and Prusa, enable the customization, affordability, and advancement of 3D printing technology.

 

Arduino and Raspberry Pi, as open-source microcontroller platforms, empower individuals and businesses to develop electronic devices, robots, and Internet of Things (IoT) applications.

 

The realm of open-source electronics encompasses various projects sharing designs for electronic components, circuits, and devices, fostering collaboration and driving innovation in hardware development.

F&B (Food and Beverage):

Platforms like Open Food Network freely share recipes, promoting transparency and collaboration within the culinary world.

 

In the domain of urban agriculture, open-source designs for aquaponics systems, vertical gardens, and other urban farming methods empower communities to sustainably grow their own food.

 

Communities engaged in open-source brewing and fermentation freely exchange recipes and techniques for brewing beer, kombucha, and other fermented foods, encouraging experimentation and the sharing of knowledge.

Digital content:

Organized by the Wikimedia Foundation, open-content projects like Wikipedia and Wiktionary embrace Creative Commons content licenses, exemplifying the principles of open sharing and collaboration.

Medicine:

OpenEMR, certified as an ONC-ATB Ambulatory EHR 2011-2012, stands as an electronic health records and medical practice management application. It is equipped with fully integrated features, including electronic health records, practice management, scheduling, and electronic billing, serving as the foundation for numerous EHR programs.

Science and Engineering:

Research – The Science Commons emerged as a cost-effective alternative to the high legal expenses associated with the sharing and reuse of scientific works in journals and other platforms.

 

Engineering – Elon Musk proposed Hyperloop, a high-speed transport system characterized as “an elevated, reduced-pressure tube containing pressurized capsules driven within by linear electric motors.”

 

Energy research – The Open Energy Modelling Initiative advocates for open-source models and open data in energy research and policy guidance.

Conclusion

The open-source journey doesn’t end here! It’s just the beginning of a vibrant community, endless learning, and the power to shape the future of technology. Dive in, contribute, and be part of something bigger than yourself. Remember, the code is open, the possibilities are endless!

MOHA Software
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