Data, probably the single most valuable asset in the modern world which has dragged CEOs to courtrooms and senate meetings & made companies multi-billion-dollar ventures. It all boils down to this unit of information that everyone (including web apps, applications development and programming languages) are creating every second of our lives. In the words of Charles Towers-Clark, Forbes columnist, the current tech industry is “egalitarian and exclusive, collaborative and ruthlessly competitive, open and rigidly closed” which in essence describes the state of majority of tech companies, incorporating these ideas for innovation & ingenuity. The principle to keep everything in balance is Open source. Open source has been shaping the direction of technology for almost the last two decades for a good number of mobile app development company as well web application development companies.
What is Open Source?
Open source, as the name suggests, the software code is open; It’s free to download, modify & include in any project as and when required which makes it even better over time. “’Free software’ is a matter of liberty, not price. You should think of ‘free’ as in ‘free speech’, not as in ‘free beer’.” – Richard Stallman, Founder of Free Software Foundation (FSF) & creator of open-source OS GNU explained that it’s the principle of the thing that matters. His conceptualization of liberty has inspired a generation of techies & developers to abide by the principles of open-source by contributing their knowledge in exchange for free testing and software improvement over time. Free software is a counterpart to proprietary software which means that no one except the owners have the source code and is highly guarded. A user can pay to use the software as it is intended to be used but cannot in any legal right modify and reuse it.
When did it all start?
The history of open-source programming languages begins along with the internet. While developing early internet technologies in the 1950s and 1960s, researchers relied on open and collaborative ways of feedback process. Users built and shared the same based on each other’s source code. And by the time the internet was born in the early 1990s, these values of openness, peer review and collaboration were already written at the core of its foundation. Today, millions of users rely on a program that has a Linux kernel. This popular open-source operating system is called Linux and is featured under various GNU licenses. A Unix-like operating system, Linux is the largest open-source software project in the world with millions of people from all over the globe continuously contributing to its source code. Open Source started the journey from the margins of software development to become a mainstream industry standard when the Open Source Initiative (OSI) was founded in 1998, which essentially formalized the term ‘Open Source’ in the software industry.
In open-source governance can be simply broken down into two components: Structures & Process. Like any other stable democratic system, its elements can be very helpful in creating a good open-source governance system. For this, the rules and processes are to be clearly stated which allows all good ideas to get noticed and brought into action by the people running the project.
Balancing the powers is the key here. Assuming that we really want to get something meaningful out of the community, this is true regardless of the nature or kind of project we are building. Any and all community driven projects need some kind of process badly in order to protect the prerogatives of the parties involved and project spiralling out of control.
One such great example is Apache. It is winning hearts of everybody these days because they concentrated on the process up front and got it down cold. You’ve got an applications development version of Camelot when you have great minds just sharing values and structure and processes.
From a governance point of view, most projects are like blocks rather than cities or states. We start by appointing a community manager who can respond to emails, social media and feedback. ‘Feedbacks’ are the key here. We need to focus attention on those who want to contribute code. Someone needs to take a look at all incoming code and evaluate them. Should try not to reject any, can post them, someone may like it.
Once we have enough supporters, we need boards. A technical board can be for the biggest contributors (individuals and companies) of code and bug fixes and an advisory board can consist of companies and community members which can help decide the path of the project moving forward. This is the point where the community manager acts as liaison between the advisory board and the wide community. Remember, we are trying not only to drive offers of code but also bug reports and beta testing. The best way to do it is through a wiki. Need to be Honest, transparent and open about what and why we are doing it. The broader the participation, the better off we’re going to be.
The Bottom Line
Open Source is keeping the tech industry especially mobile app development company and web application development company afloat and alive. This can be determined from the fact that currently 78.9% (8 out of 10 web apps and websites you visit) of all websites running on the world wide web at the moment are made on Php, which is an open-sourced scripting language and based on best mobile app development framework. There is a very funny story that goes around that tells the reality and importance of shared resources over proprietary ones. In 1911, Henry Ford won a challenge for a 2-cycle gasoline engine, Selden patent which was originally filed by George B. Seldon.
But then came the formation of the Motor Vehicle Manufacturers Association which constituted a cross-licensing agreement among all US automotive manufacturers. This made the Seldon patent worthless. Now all companies would develop technologies and file for patents but they would also share them amongst themselves without exchange of money. 92 of Ford’s patents and about 515 patents from other manufacturers were being shared by the time The United States of America entered World War II.
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