Cloud Insight

How Open Source is Changing the Development Landscape for the Better

29 Jan

Remember that teacher in elementary school that always talked about sharing, and made you share your toys with the other kids in class? That teacher provided a valuable lesson to many in that sharing really is caring. Ok, so enough with the nostalgia – currently, sharing is spoken about in different terms, especially when it comes to software and applications. In the past we used terms like “shareware” or “freeware” to promote free software to a large group of people. Today we often use the term “open source,” referring to software that is made available to anyone, and can be contributed to, or altered by, anyone.

Open source is nothing new, except when it comes to enterprise.

Much of enterprise software is provided by one vendor for a given price, calculated by number of users or licenses, or a monthly or yearly fee. The constant is that the vendor is responsible for updating, maintaining, and improving the software over time. The problem is that the vendor only has so much bandwidth to be able to develop improvements that are equal parts timely and meaningful.

This is where open source software comes in: there are a great number being used for big data, project management, web development, and other projects. Two examples are Hadoop (big data) and WordPress (web development). Both are open source software, having become more popular than they would have had they been created and maintained by only one vendor or company.

Open source allows for collaboration, with software developers from all walks of life contributing to its functionality in order to make it better.

You don’t have to hire this person or seek them out; all you have to do is lay out guidelines to follow and sit back. It creates a chain reaction that helps improve the software more rapidly than if it were only being developed by a few people.

In the realm of open source software like WordPress, this type of collaboration results in a number of improvements to the core of the CMS, as well as thousands of plugins and themes, or skins. When working with a program like Hadoop, it allows businesses to form that utilize Hadoop to build big data infrastructure, and planning and do so much faster.

Open source is a realm of endless possibilities due to platform creators allowing the users develop improvements rather than just selling it to anyone. And while software development is a business (giving away free software won’t pay the bills), there are plenty of ways to create a business out of “freeware” or open source software.

In the end we should all be thankful that these developers cared enough to share their work with others, and allowed other developers to add to their work. What it does is make things better and easier for the rest of us faster than we could have imagined; and that really is a great thing.