Saturday, October 16, 2010

Support Open Source Initiatives

A survey by Boston Consulting Group in of developers using SourceForge found that respondents were, on average, 30 years old and had 11 years of programming experience. These were experienced professionals contributing to quality software products for free. Open Source is so pervasive now that people don’t talk about it or discuss it anymore. The assumption is that quality software will continue to be available for free. Without donations and support this is not possible, especially in tough economies. I have been an active user of OSS at work for almost every single project. Software development projects utilize a plethora of components that are open source. Open Source Object Relational Mapping frameworks, Model-View Controller frameworks to full scale operating systems, application servers and databases are used across business applications everywhere. So what is the basic idea behind the open source movement ?

“The basic idea behind open source is very simple: When programmers can read, redistribute, and modify the source code for a piece of software, the software evolves. People improve it, people adapt it, (and) people fix bugs. And this can happen at a speed that, if one is used to the slow pace of conventional software development, seems astonishing.” (

Community credibility is an underlying motivator for joining an open source project. The lure of open source includes solving technical challenges; drawing of making a contribution the rest of the community can use; the enhanced skills and reputation (marketability) that comes from being an active member of the community; and the potential for providing fee-based services for open source software. Developers are motivated by the opportunity to branch out and work with products they don’t normally work with in their day jobs – say, video programming – and they are also motivated by pure fun (Gustafson and Koff). Every single corporate entity in the U.S. has some open source utilization today in either a desktop environment, server environment, in the cloud environment or all. It exists at all level and is pervasive across the board. OSS is here to stay: did you use an OSS today? If so consider donating to software foundation that supports it.