Empowerment of individuals is a key part of what makes open source work, since in the end, innovations tend to come from small groups, not from large, structured efforts.
Tim O’ Reily
A pretty sounding term that gets thrown around a lot if you’re a CS student. I know, it all sounds kinda vague when you hear about it from people who themselves know nothing of OSS.
Open Source means writing a piece of code that anyone on the internet can use for their own purposes.
Honestly, that kinda sounded like ‘working for free’ when I first heard about it, and doing something for free sounded like something I wasn’t interested in.
I kind of turned away from OSS until I actually met people who were into open source.
So, back to the topic. You’re a CS or an IT undergrad, and you heard from someone that you should get into open source, but they didn’t guide you well enough. That’s where this guide comes in, the ‘missing link’!
The What of Open Source
Open Source, in layman’s terms means ‘my source code is public!’
Microsoft Office is a software, which is required to be purchased to be used, unlike open source software like LibreOffice, which requires no such purchases to be made, and is therefore free to be used and to be distributed. But a point to be noted, not all free software is open source!
Open Source means writing code for the people. How many times has it been that you’ve been searching for something on the internet and you land on a Github Page with exactly the thing you need?
These are the open source developers that have written their code for public use. The essence of open source development is writing code, with no strings attached. You don’t get any money though.
But, there are also companies that use Open Source. They develop their codebase as OSS.
In the end, the flexibility of open source depends on the license used. The licenses define how much of your code is re-usable and other related stuff. In case someone uses your code, and your license says otherwise, you can sue them.
Well, if you’re starting, then open source development won’t be earning you money, then why should you be writing code for open source in the first place?
Let me cross question. Why do we volunteer?
Maybe you want to give something back to the society, make a difference, or it could be something like enhancing your CV.
Working in the Open Source is very similar. You may either want to give back something to the Internet, because those nights you’d have spent finding a solution were spared because someone uploaded their code on StackOverflow.
It’s a great feeling when someone forks your code or uses your project, giving back the community is the essence of open source development.
One of the best things about open source is, you’ve got something to show off as your dedication in development or programming. That Github wall doesn’t fill itself!
Credits — By Yatharth Rai for Precisely – The Opportunity Hub