Open source is a development model which has a free license for universal access. Subsequent improvements can be done to it by anyone. Open source gained a position with the advent of the Internet. Generally open source is termed as a source code available to general public for use or modification from original design of a computer program. Open source movement is now widespread in many areas such as open source drug discovery, software design, education, hardware, research, engineering, construction, digital content, beverages, robotics, fashion, religion, ethics, media, culture, politics, governance and development of appropriate technology.
Open Source benefits and disadvantages
Open source model acts as a driver of sustainable development. The free available knowledge provides low costs so that they do not need large scale of manufacture. It provides the right of use, modify, reuse and redistribute with no loyalties or costs to anyone. This enables innovation and integration of new techniques which makes the open source model driven to low costs and makes it available to all people.
It is estimated that every year $60 billion are collectively saved using open source software. If software alone saves this much amount a year, many fields using open source can save money depending on their respective field. Open source reduces the production costs and development costs. Further costs that are hidden in implementing a project are training, support, customisation and maintenance. Open source can reduce these costs only by 40 -50%.
There are greater opportunities to transfer the data from original form across interoperable platforms. There is a freedom for data transferability. It enables easy expansion to different environments. If the original version is available to a wider community, hacking community will be a threat. Malicious users can potentially exploit any vulnerability. They may even change the source code by hacking.
Quality of the open source projects has both positive and negative aspects. Many people can edit the material and make more reliable promising better quality. However the structure has lacked standardisation and compatibility. No one will pay money to complete the project. Quality is only decided by the user. They must learn the skills of creation and then make proper determinations of quality.
Many companies makes use of open source software and licenses to combine them with their proprietary software thereby developing their re release of their software. Programmers and innovators work together in the development of open source. In the negative side, no one can give guarantee about the development will happen. It is not known when the project has started and when it will reach a usable stage. If there is no enough funding the project may stop at the prevailing development level.
Support and updates
A company will have to rely upon the help and support of developer community to run a open source projects. Third party companies will also provide support on commercial basis. Commercial support are obtained from sponsoring vendors and paid consultants. But those supports are not qualified supports. There will be no much advertising for open source models that has less support. This leads to a stage where regular updates are not assured.
The top reason of open source success is the commercial IT vendors. They fund the project, contribute developers and code. They earn the influenced revenue and end the project at a lower cost. Open source is always a boon to software developer. But they are a curse to general counsel of the software company.