What I know so far is that open source software/web applications are created/maintained by the web/software developers/organizations/communities for free to use, practice, compare, and develop. In which users are granted the rights to use, study, modify, test, and distribute for free.
The code of the software and application is available to download and users can use or modify it and make changes. Anyone especially developers from around the world can contribute to the development of open-source software.
It means the open source software is started by any organization or individual who grants access to the users and developers to use it and grow it for free. It’s like social work.
For developers, it’s like they use of their skills for charity. And for the users, it’s free to use. Like Bhandara or open food or water stall free for everyone.
The meaning of open source software means the source of software or the code behind the software is open to use, change, modify for development. Anyone can use or contribute to the development.
There are various open source applications, tools, and methods such as WordPress, Mysql database management system, Android mobile operating system, Linux operating system, and Mozilla, etc.
But to understand, how open source software impacts our life, I am taking WordPress open source CMS (Content Management System) example:
WordPress is a free and open-source content management system. Content means text, images, videos, podcasts, and content tools and communication methods are possible to create, manage and market by using WordPress.
That’s why we can use WordPress to create a blog, information, and e-commerce website. We can use all other communication tools such as contact forms, and chat options by using plugins.
How WordPress open source content management platform helped people:
1) It was very tough and expensive to create websites. But now today, anyone can learn and build websites using WordPress.
2) WordPress helped to innovate and expand economic activities. When someone creates a business website using WordPress then it will help them to market and connect with the customers.
3.) When someone runs a blog on WordPress then it will help to educate people.
4.) So whenever we use any technology for commercial activities it will help in economic development. It can be social media, search engine ads, data analytics, etc.
5.) When you use WordPress, then you need premium themes, subscriptions, hosting, domain names, etc. And indirectly it helps premium sources to contribute to its development. It means the open source is the path that directs users to open source. And after the use of its free features, it leads to premium options. And premium options are distributed by the companies. You can say it’s useful for marketing and selling more tools, products, and services.
Many people are able to learn from WordPress. And now contributing to its development to expand the technology and it reaches to common people. And around technology, there are paid themes, plugins, services, and products that contribute to the success of the website. But to achieve that commercial success, it was important first to develop the source.
But the question is why developers and people contribute to open-source development and why it’s important.
We’re not only able to live due to our reason. There are many people who make it possible that all of us can live. It’s the natural sources such as oxygen, water, and farmers, doctors, teachers, leaders, governments, etc. And the whole system was created or under creation so that the world can become a good place to live. And similar method work in the development of open-source software.
Let’s try to understand the following points:
- If luckily you know that something that can be beneficial for people and our earth then what you will do? You definitely work on that. That’s why people are planting trees, working to clean water resources, and increasing the use of eco-friendly technology and methods. So that the earth can remain a place to live for the next 10000+ years. When you plant one tree on your birthday, then it will create the scope for living thousands of other things such as birds, and humans, and filter the air.
- Similarly to this, if you know about a certain technology, a tool that can impact and make people live better and beneficially personally, financially, professionally, socially, and environmentally then you will work on that. Now the output can be commercial, free, and open. Free to use. Open to learning and growing, commercial to pay. The business model can be anything.
- As you can’t impact people’s lives by planting only 1 tree in a year but you can inspire and educate them to do similar. But when your message is inspiring to others they will start planting a tree, like they will start contributing to the open-source software. And in combined goals, open source software comes into action. Or the whole goal or campaign to plant a tree on the birthday become viral.
That’s why people contribute to open-source projects, software, and tools. So that each of us and the next generations get benefits and learn from us to keep innovating and resolving daily life problems with the help of technology.
That’s why developers and programmers contribute to open-source projects. It’s a charity by them. So that technology and few companies and people can’t control the whole world.
- Another importance of contribution to open source projects is that it provides options for the developers and contributors to expand, test, and make their knowledge productive. When any function or program works effectively in the open source project then it’s a learning for the developer or companies who are contributing. And after that, they will use a similar method to their own commercial project.
- Open source development is important to reduce the cost of the usefulness of technologies. It’s not that everyone can pay, but it’s also that bigger companies can’t create a monopoly or use their power to control the users or people.
How you can contribute?
- You can contribute by educating people about it.
- You can contribute by developing and using your own programming skills.
- You can be contributing by delegating your employees to the development of technology. So that your own product combined with that open-source technology can work.
- You can educate students to contribute to open-source technologies and then create something innovative and creative.
So, friends, that’s what I know so far. I hope it will be helpful.
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