What is Open Source – Benefits, services, examples

What is Open Source

Literally, it means source code that is available to see in its readable form.
This literal definition has naturally extended to include free to use code, including usage freedoms.
This extended definition has been standardized by The Open Source Definition:
English: https://opensource.org/osd
Japanese: https://opensource.jp/osd/osd-japanese.html
Open Source is sometimes referred to by the abbreviation OSS(Open Source Software).

Open Source Benefits

  • Free to use.
  • Freedom from usage restrictions.
  • Work is maintained by other people, so reduced maintenance costs.
  • Online global pool of talent ideal for difficult projects.
  • Source code can be viewed.
  • Free to contribute or fork as own project.

Reasons for switching to Open Source

  • Licences cost too much.
  • Paid service is discontinued or changes to be of little use.
  • Can not update Operating System or program due to legacy dependencies resulting in security issues, higher development costs and being stuck in the past.

Service examples

  • Microsoft Office Licence ⇒ Free
  • Legacy Internet Explorer, VBA, VBScript ⇒ New HTML5, JavaScript
  • Legacy Flash ⇒ New JavaScript
  • Separate code bases(Android + iOS + Website) ⇒ One main code base(All platforms using same website source code)
  • Paid libraries/applications/APIs ⇒ Free alternatives
  • Windows ⇒ Linux
  • Proprietary DB(SQL Server, Oracle) ⇒ (Open source)MySQL
  • Custom support for open source libraries(often done in English).

Help with OSS concerns

  • Technical English communication: Actively communicate with open source developers, mainly done in English.
  • Custom requests, emergency issues, project discontinuation: Can contribute, take over or make requests to open source projects.
  • Paid support: Offer or introduce open source related help.
  • Security: Security scanning and risk assessment.
  • Licence mismatches: Licence testing and guidance.