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Open source software: By the (smart) people, for all the people (smart or not)

January 25, 2010

Many of my clients ask me what open source is really all about, since I use open source software in just about every website I’ve made in the past two years.

Open source software is world-changing. OS is basically any program that has been designed and created through mass collaboration – hundreds, thousands or hundreds of thousands of people working together on the same project as a group. Open source is literally by the (smart or thoughtful) people, for all the people (smart or not).

Anyone can weigh in on and add to the development of open source software, because it revolves entirely around the power of so many brilliant minds working together on that one soon-to-be fabulous project. Open source projects rarely include the negative, whiny, always-loud minority that exist in any other normal on or offline community, because those people quickly become ousted or ignored by the rest of the project’s collaborators.

Open source software is often developed by programmers who are working for free, collaborating on the project from every corner of the globe. They’re in it for the good of the project’s goal. And then they’ll make money by selling add-on’s to thousands of people just like me for years to come.

‘Source’ stands for source code, I’m assuming. With commercially purchased software, you’re often prevented from seeing the source code, so you can’t modify it or rip it off by repackaging it with a different skin and selling it under your own name. Open source software, on the other hand, is created with the intention of you basically doing just that – changing it, using it for creating client’s website and software project, etc. There are rules – as far as the ripping it off bit – but overall, it’s a free-for-all.

OS software is often better quality, higher reliability (since they’re mass tested – often by tens of thousands of developers around the world), more flexible and cost little to nothing to implement for commercial puprposes.

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