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A primer on “Why Open Source?”
A development method for software that harnesses the power of distributed peer review and transparency of process is how it is often defined by The Open Source Initiative (OSI). This non-profit corporation was formed to educate about and advocate for the benefits of open source and to build bridges among different constituencies in the open-source community. The promise of open source is simply better quality, higher reliability, more flexibility, lower cost, and an end to predatory vendor lock-in.
A Case Study: Android
Android is an Open Source initiative started by Google and it aims to deliver software for mobile devices such as an operating system, middleware and key applications. Built to be truly open. it is based on the open Linux Kernel, utilizes a custom virtual machine designed to optimize memory and hardware resources in mobile systems. The advantage of Open Source is reflected in the speed of development and adoption of bleeding edge technologies. Within a short period of time, developers for the Android OS are flooding the market with their apps enabling it to set its sights on Apple’s iPhone OS with its rabid growth.
Democracy guarantees equality of opportunity
The Android OS does not differentiate between core applications in the phone and third-party apps. Any application can be built to access the phone’s capabilities providing the end users a rich experience and service, thus allowing one to tailor make the phone for one’s requirements. I’m a visual wizard and I’d love to customize everything from the home screen and dialer to favorite applications. If third party apps are privy to such instruction sets, they can even instruct phones to do the same. The possibilities are endless. For example, a developer can combine information from the web with data on an individual’s mobile phone to build an application that enables users to view the location of their friends and be alerted when they are in the vicinity giving them a chance to connect.
You can’t teach an old dog new tricks
Always one to challenge tradition and assumptions, I was thrilled when Symbian; actually the leading smartphone operating system in the world made it’s mobile operating system open source. The availability now gives smartphone manufacturers an alternative to Android. Companies can develop applications to integrate with the enterprise thus streamlining processes, extending device life and maximizing investment. All you Nokia users are sure to reap big benefits as developers rush to take advantage of the 330 million user base.
Free is for Freedom
The common misconception is that open source is about free as in software thats costs nothing. On the contrary it’s about freedom. It’s about control. Access to the source code gives you the freedom to tailor make it to your requirement and situation. Public domain information must be free from barriers to access or reuse traditionally copyrighted, so when you create make it free from any copyright protection or if you have already created something, let it free and watch it soar.
Guest post by Ritesh Reddy. He is a dilettante who enjoys writing, ranting and ruminating about all and sundry. His natural habitat is in front of a screen that has him spell bound. He runs amok amongst various social networks and escapes from it all by scouring the beach for signs of life.