Thursday, April 15, 2010

Why is it called Opensource?

Why is Opensource software called so anyway?Why can't we just call it free software or freedomware or something similar you may wonder.
To understand why this particular name was chosen,you need to have some knowledge about how software is made.

Every software program is made by first typing some instructions in a file in way that the computer can understand.The file is called the 'source' file and the instructions are called 'source code'.This process is not as straightforward as you might think.You need to to type around 5 lines of code just to print your name.Full fledged software packages like Microsoft Office for example,contains millions of lines of code.That's not all,supposing you make a single spelling mistake in your code the program will not be created,instead you will get an error message.There are a 20-30 different types of errors,each more difficult to track than the other.Creating software is hard work you know.

In case of Open source software,the source code can be downloaded and edited by anyone who has an Internet connection and a knowledge of computer programming(You can download it without knowing programming but then you cannot edit it).You don't have to pay a single penny for modifying the program - in fact you are encouraged to do so as this is how Open source software is developed.This is in sharp contrast to closed source software like MS office where the source code is heavily guarded and are patented.

Sharing source code is like wholeheartedly letting your friend copy your assignment for which you spent weeks to complete,except on a much larger scale.Since the source code is 'open' for anyone to edit,these type of software came to be known as Opensource software.Opensource is not just software it is a philosophy,a state of mind.Support Open source and support true freedom.

You may be interested in the Wikipedia article on Opensource.The link is

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