Open Source Is Important To Advance

Why Open Source Is Important To Advance Technology

Why Open Source Is Important To Advance Technology

Open source refers to an approach to software development that centers access and transparency above everything else. As opposed to proprietary software, which is typically owned by an individual or a publisher who keeps the technical details of the software hidden and secret, open-source software is often free and open for anybody to use, analyze, and modify.

More profit-oriented minds might find this concept strange or confusing, but the reality is that open-source development and the community behind it is incredibly important to the advancement of technology across the board. Among other strengths, open-source promotes community, security, and accessibility, which are necessary pillars to a free and healthy internet and tech world.


Community and Collaboration

There are many reasons why a company might want to keep their software to their own private development team. One strength of open source development is the spirit of collaboration and community that goes alongside it. Since the code is accessible to anybody who is interested, people from all over the world are able to study, test, and even improve on these applications and programs without having to belong to a specific team, or have a certain clearance.

This isn’t just a theoretical advantage, either. Anybody who is particularly knowledgeable about computers and operating systems probably has positive things to say about Linux, a completely open source operating system. Not only are Linux operating systems free for anybody to use and run, but they are widely used and highly regarded, which serve as a testament to the power of this collaborative approach.


Security and Transparency

A serious limitation that proprietary software faces by keeping its code behind closed curtains is that only the dev team is able to check the software for weaknesses. This means on one hand, users may be operating under a false sense of security if vulnerabilities that are being covered up. On the other hand, users rely on the dev team to patch any issues that may come up in a timely manner. Some dev teams are on the ball and this exclusivity doesn’t turn into an issue. However, for teams that may be juggling multiple products, are understaffed, or simply cannot afford to pay too much attention to specific issues, these vulnerabilities can go unchecked.

By leaving code accessible to all, open source software often sidesteps these issues. Together with the spirit of collaboration that open source promotes, people from all over the world are constantly checking these programs for weaknesses and improvements. If an issue comes up, there’s no need to wait for a busy dev team to take care of it. The power to fix vulnerabilities is placed safely in the users’ hands—the ones that are most vulnerable to these weaknesses in the first place.



Finally, advancing technology means little if nobody gets to use it, or if only a select few get access. Open source software is usually free and accessible for anybody to use, democratizing the tech sphere and taking a step towards leveling the playing field for all tech users. For every powerful but paywalled Photoshop, we need a professional grade GIMP so that advanced image editing software is available to everybody, not just those who can afford it.

Accessibility also lends itself to broader learning and training. It’s no secret that many tech professionals are self-taught, and that this has become perhaps the most popular and efficient way of navigating the modern tech world. Open source software lets learners of all levels dive into the inner workings of functional products, and understand how things are put together, as well as how things are actually being done in real, distributable products. Having free and open access to these learning materials is a huge resource for anybody wanting to become proficient in the practice.

There is often a place for proprietary software, and keeping some details behind closed doors can certainly be important to many companies. Nevertheless, open source has been not just an important approach to development across the tech sphere, but also an important mindset and attitude across the community, that has invariably led both to advanced technology and also an astute network of problem solvers who are happy to collaborate at a moment’s notice. In many ways, this open source mindset is an important one to consider for all aspects of our lives.

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