Saturday, November 25, 2006

Open Source - Why Open Source?

Last week I touched upon the Introduction of Open Source. We discussed what Open Source Software is all about. This week in continuation to the same we will talk about why do we need open source.

Personally when I am working on a Software Project the Time is the most critical factor there. The time
  • To Delivery
  • To implement a new Change Request
  • To Test

and many other factors which affect project schedule. While doing that we as a project team have to choose between whether to go for a properitory solution or an equivalent open source solution. While Properitory solution works in few cases well, Open source takes precedence most of the time. There are various reasons we choose open source as our way to go:

1. Choice of Vendors: Today there are many development teams develop similar kind of utilities, component, softwares etc. So when we find that one software or component is not meeting our requirement we always have an option to try out other one.

2. No Hidden Agenda or Features: Rarely I came across an open source software which has some sort of hidden agendas or features. Privacy is the bigger concern in the development and user community these days. The open source softwares have nothing to hide and one can easily find if there are any hidden code in the system. Normally there are none and if they are, they are well documented.

3. Access to Source Code: Every developer has a wish to see the source code which performs a complex operation or excutes in an efficient way. In open source we are supplied with the source code. So one has complete access to the source code and can always

4. Free to Customize: More often than not we come across a software component which meets 90% of our requirement but requires some sort of customization. Since the source code is supplied with an Open source software, we can easily customize it as per our needs. The only thing we need to keep in mind not to forget giving credit to the original author. The GPL (GNU Public License) asks us to give the original author the credit for the work they've done. See its so easy :)

5. Fast Turnaround time: If the software component is having some bug then one can file the bug report in their bug tracking system. Most of the time the patch is made available within a week or so. As many people work in a team and they are so passionate about their work (Open Source) that they take the bugs logged as top priority and make the fix available overnight (at times). I bet one can't expect a fast response time like that from a properitory software vendor.

There are quite a few reasons why we go for open source softare. In next Blog we will discuss where the world is heading in relation to Open Source.

Until next Time..:)

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