Open Source technology

By | May 1, 2014


Free and open source software has had a major impact on the computer industry since the late 1990s and has changed the way software is perceived, developed and deployed in many areas. Free and open source technology or software, is typically developed in a collaborative fashion and the majority of contributors are volunteers. Even though this collaborative form of development has produced a significant body of software, the development process is often described as unstructured and unorganized. This dissertation studies the FOSS phenomenon from a quality perspective and investigates where improvements to the development process are possible. In particular, the focus is on release management since this is concerned with the delivery of a high quality product to end-users. The biggest downside of closed source software is that you have no idea how it was made. You must accept the word of a software vendor for the quality of their own product.

II.      Introduction

Open source technology is an often-misused term, users often think open source is synonymous with free. With the relatively recent rise of the Internets influence on production and development of software, open source has become a popular vehicle to obtain widespread use and support of some very popular software titles. In this article, we’ll discuss a definition of open source technology and its relationship with software such as the Linux operating system.

III.      Definition of Open Source

Open source technology is defined as the production and development philosophy of allowing end users and developers to not only see the source code of software, but modify it as well. The Linux operating system is a one of the best-known examples of open source software technology.


All software has source code. Open source software grants every user access to that code. Freedom means choice. Choice means power. That’s why we believe open source is inevitable. It returns control to the customer. You can see the code, change it, and learn from it. Bugs are found and fixed quickly. And when customers are unhappy with one vendor, they can choose another without overhauling their entire infrastructure. No more technology lock-in. No more monopolies.

In the proprietary model, development occurs within one company. Programmers write code, hide it behind binaries, and charge customers to use the software–then charge them more to fix it when it breaks. The problem worsens when you become tied to a company’s architecture, protocols, and file formats. Bruce Perens calls this the addiction model of software procurement. And we think a model that puts customers at such a fundamental disadvantage is conceptually broken.


Although software is not the only product governed by an open source licenses, it is the most popular, lending itself well to manipulation of its code and add-ons. Open source provides a transparent platform upon which anyone with the skills to do so can add to the development and production of the software either for release as a new incarnation of the software for others to use or for strictly in-house development only.

One issue that has come up repeatedly in open source has to do with the copyrights assigned to the original software and any modifications made to it. As outlined in most open source license agreements, ownership of the software can never transfer to anyone who modifies the software.

Most money made from open source software comes in the form of support for the software technology and its many additions, add-ons, and modifications that often ensue.

VI.      Criteria

A. Free Redistribution

The license shall not restrict any party from selling or giving away the software as a component of an aggregate software distribution containing programs from several different sources. The license shall not require a royalty or other fee for such sale.

B. Source Code

The program must include source code, and must allow distribution in source code as well as compiled form. Where some form of a product is not distributed with source code, there must be a well-publicized means of obtaining the source code for no more than a reasonable reproduction cost preferably, downloading via the Internet without charge. The source code must be the preferred form in which a programmer would modify the program. Deliberately obfuscated source code is not allowed. Intermediate forms such as the output of a preprocessor or translator are not allowed.

C. Derived Works

The license must allow modifications and derived works, and must allow them to be distributed under the same terms as the license of the original software.

D. Integrity of The Author’s Source Code

The license may restrict source-code from being distributed in modified form only if the license allows the distribution of “patch files” with the source code for the purpose of modifying the program at build time. The license must explicitly permit distribution of software built from modified source code. The license may require derived works to carry a different name or version number from the original software.

E. No Discrimination Against Persons or Groups

The license must not discriminate against any person or group of persons.

F. No Discrimination Against Fields of Endeavor

The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the program in a specific field of endeavor. For example, it may not restrict the program from being used in a business, or from being used for genetic research.

G. Distribution of License

The rights attached to the program must apply to all to whom the program is redistributed without the need for execution of an additional license by those parties.

H. License Must Not Restrict Other Software

The license must not place restrictions on other software that is distributed along with the licensed software. For example, the license must not insist that all other programs distributed on the same medium must be open-source software.

I. License Must Be Technology-Neutral

No provision of the license may be predicated on any individual technology or style of interface is not free in the sense that the end user can do whatever he/she wants to it including selling it.


A. Stability

If you have used other operating systems, once you have made the switch to Linux, you will notice that Linux has an edge over Windows. We have to reboot Windows many times over the years, because an application crashed, and we couldn’t continue working. Linux can crash also, but it is much harder to do. If an application crashes in Linux, it will usually not harm the kernel or other processes.

B.Free Software

Most software can be obtained without cost for Linux. For example, one thing that has kept people from Linux is the lack of office software. That has changed with Open Office, and now you can edit documents and presentations from the popular Microsoft software. The conversion isn’t 100% perfect, but it has worked remarkably well in allowing us to correspond and use documents that people send me via e-mail or the web.

C. Runs on old hardware

If you have an old 386 or 486 lying around collecting dust, you can use this to run Linux. We can run Linux just fine on a Pentium 100 with a 1 GB disk drive, and 16 MB of memory. One use of an old machine like that could be a file server. Just go to your computer store, buy a large hard disk (as long as your old stuff can support it), and you can make a great storage server. With all the digital pictures and movies around today, this could be a great use for Linux. Look into using Samba, a server application for Linux that allows you to make your machine share the disk as a Windows share.

 D. Security

Linux has the advantage of the code being in the public domain. This can be a double-edged sword; while you can look at the code, and developers can fix holes rapidly, it also means hackers can find bad code. I have been very impressed with the security of Linux, and the programs that run on it. According to us having the code out in the open, and the ability to fix things yourself if necessary is a big plus. Who likes to work blind? With some distributions, on installation the computer will ask you what levels of security you would like for your system. You can be very trusting, or you can be paranoid. Linux gives you this flexibility.


A. Learning Curve

Linux is definitely worth your time, but to really master it, you will need to spend some good time in front of your machine tinkering with things. Don’t expect to be an expert after reading something like “Linux for Dummies”. If you are contemplating this for your company, you will need to budget some money for training and learning time.

B.Equivalent Programs

You will want to think carefully when you switch to Linux about what programs you currently use, and if they have Linux support for them. It may not make sense for you to switch if you are going to spend tons of time converting databases and application data.

C. More Technical Ability Needed

You will want to make sure that you train someone in Linux really well. Alternately, you could hire someone who has experience with Linux. A good Linux administrator needs to be on hand as you start to migrate your systems over. This is a disadvantage financially, at least in the beginning. You may find over time, however, that you only need a temporary administrator to handle the routine tasks.

D.Not all Hardware Compatible

Some of the latest and greatest hardware that is being produced is not compatible with Linux. At least, not yet. The people that contribute program code and drivers to the Linux kernel are great at including support fairly quickly. Until that time, not everything you buy for hardware in your system may work. We have to rely on third-party drivers and other means to make hardware like a new Ethernet card work. Eventually, the support will be built in. One thing you can do is before your purchase, ask if the hardware vendor has support for Linux. Some manufacturers do write their own Linux drivers and distribute them with your purchase, making it very easy to integrate with your existing system.


A.Computer software

1) Programming language: PHP – Scripting language suited for the web

2) OS: GNU Project a sufficient body of free software

         Linux operating system kernel based on UNIX

         FreeBSD operating system derived from UNIX

         OpenSolaris UNIX Operating System from Sun Microsystems

 3)  Server: Apache –HTTP web server

         Tomcat web server –web container

         MediaWiki — wiki server software, the software that runs Wikipedia

        OpenSIS –open source Student Information System

B. Electronics

Open–source hardware is hardware whose initial specification, usually in a software format, are published and made available to the public, enabling anyone to copy, modify and redistribute the hardware and source code without paying royalties or fees.

Openmoko-­-a family of open source mobile phones, including the hardware specification and the operating system.

Sun Microsystems’s OpenSPARC T1 Multicore processor.

C. Robotic

An open-source robot is a robot whose blueprints, schematics, and/or source code are released under an open source model.

D. Other

Open design which involves applying open source methodologies to the design of artifacts and systems in the physical world. Very nascent but has huge potential.

E. Teaching

Which involves applying the concepts of open source to instruction using a shared web space as a platform to improve upon learning, organizational, and management challenges? An example of an Open Source Courseware is the Java Education & Development Initiative

X.      Conclusion

Although open source software is often free to download and use, open source licenses rarely transfer any ownership of the software to the end user or developer. Open source is not limited to software. Open source philosophies have been applied to everything from medicine to soft drink formulas. The result is higher commitment and even cult status among the developers and users of open source technologies. For more on open source, read the second article in this series that discusses the advantages and disadvantages of using and developing open source technologies.

The future belongs to the open source technology (OST) and a decision to change from proprietary system will have to be made or perish, Besides, it has been facilitating operations in e-Governance by the State Government with respect to family cards, property registers, land records, ration shop administration etc.

Interestingly, people believe that about around 70% of software purchases will be open source 5 years from now. This response remained roughly the same in 2007 and 2008 with a slight increase to 79% in 2009.

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