With Open Source Spirit, Everybody wins by s1222207


Open source softwares are programs that are released under certain licenses which provide source code of the program, allows the program to be modified and freely redistributed. Upon invention, open source softwares are most commonly regarded as charity work given by generous programmers who like to work hard and enjoy programming. When it comes to economy, people tend to have an ingrained believe that the source code of the software should be considered as top secrets and adopting Open Source Model will bring more difficulties for company to survive. However, this is not the case. For example, in 2008, Standish Group stated that by adopting the open-source model, around 60 billion are saved every year.[1] This article will introduces several perspectives that why everyone could gain benefits with open source software.

User’s view

To users, a program claimed to be open source software is promised with freedom on how the software is going to be used, where to use it and how long they are going to use it. Also there is no limitation about sharing the software with others. General speaking, users are quite happy with softwares with characteristics, such as freedom, and will be quite understandable even if the software could only satisfy their basic needs or there are some bugs existed. Furthermore, being able and willing to give the source code to public indicate the confident of the company or programmers have on their software that there won’t be any potential security risks such as hidden spying functions programmed in their software. Therefore, Open Source Softwares are welcomed not only by normal users but also organizations with huge concerns about security risks. Some might argue that open-source Softwares are less secure than proprietary software since it is easier to find bugs by studying the source code. It is true that the visibility of source code gives attackers more information to determine the weakness of the software. One the other hand, it also gives defenders same a mount of information on how to increases the security of the software. And unlike proprietary software, open-source software gives users or developers abilities to improve the security as they want without any limit. In this case, the security of the software is not only simply influenced by company, but also by the need of users and dedication of developers. We could believe that if the software is indeed useful for a certain mount of people. There should be more programmers stand up to defend for the software rather than destroying it.

Developer’s view

When developing open source software, programmers don’t need to worry about piracy since their software can be freely used and redistributed under same or compatible licenses. Similarly, with compatible licenses, a lot of time and efforts could be saved by reusing existed open source programs. Moreover, due to the visibility of source code, users of that software could be regarded as testers who is able and willing to provide detailed information. Furthermore, experienced users with programming skills could also provides certain amount of contributions through communities or online repositories.

With Open Source Model, individual developers are able to not only contribute to existed softwares but also realize their own ideas or even start a career. By writing an initial version and pushing it to online repository, other programmers with similar interests and skills might be able to give their contributions to enhance this project. One good example is the Linux Operating System which was created in 1991 by Torvalds Linus.[2] Upon creation, the only architecture it supports is 386 (486) AT clones and there were only two programs ported, bash and gcc.[2] Then, the adoption of open source software developing model gives Linux opportunity to grow continuously by receiving contributions from programmers around the world. After 20 years, in the year of 2013, for Linux Kernel only, there are more than 16 million lines of code.[3] Moreover, most of the servers are running Linux [3] and more than 95% of the worlds’ 500 fastest computers are running Linux[4]. With open source model, Linux has eventually grown from a personal interests to a large software which has a great influence around the world.

Company of view

By giving source code to public, company first build a good reputation to customers that they are confident with both the surface and what’s underneath their software. With adequate quality and free price, this software will be soon popular among the customers. Along with the increasing popularity, more and more new customers are willing to try it. Consequently, this open source software acts as an cheap or even free promotion for the company which could lead to bigger market share. Then, other services or products that works around this software will all be benefited.

When an proprietary software released, some customers need to accept that not all requirements can be met, not all platforms can be supported and not all features will be added in future development. In this situation, the customer service of this company will be in a hassle for answering different questions and demanding from customers. On the contrary, by providing the source code and a well written documentation, experienced programmers are able to implement their own modification, adding new features or porting the software into other platforms. With the help of online repository such as github or bitbucket, programmers could even work collaboratively as well as efficiently as a team which produces high quality codes with well documentations. Therefore, the company will not only benefits from their volunteering contribution but also will be inspired by new ideas which eventually makes the product better fits users’ needs.

In addition, the open source software has a strong vitality. Even if the software is no longer supported by its creator, other programmers could keep improving it. Due to this characteristic, once an open-source product is released, other business partners are able and more willing to make contributions to it since it won’t be suddenly withdrawn or outdated. One good example is Android Operating System from Google. Being released under Apache license enables Google and its hardware partners to work collaboratively which greatly increase the popularities of Android Operating System. In the third quarter of 2013, 81.3% of global smart-phone market share was taken by Android devices.[5] Moreover, a variety of different number of distributions, created by individual programmers or organizations, indeed satisfy different demanding of users and make the Android Operating System even more popular.


With Open Source Model, everybody benefits. Users are provided with softwares which have no restrictions on how they can be used, can be trusted with security and privacy concerns and promise to be developed for a long term. Developers can not only develop open source softwares, but also modifies and redistributed them without any worries of piracy. Moreover, by adopting Open Source Model, any new ideas could be quickly initiated and developed collaboratively. Companies providing open source softwares will have a better reputation, larger market share, better relationship with business partners. And the fact that volunteers are able to contribute results in huge amount of save in developing, testing and supporting the products.


[1] Rothwell, Richard (2008-08-05). "Creating wealth with free software". Free Software Magazine. Retrieved 2008-09-08.

[2] Torvalds, Linus Benedict (August 1991). "comp.os.minix". Retrieved 2009-09-06

[3] "Linux Kernel Development: How Fast it is Going, Who is Doing It, What They are Doing, and Who is Sponsoring It (2013 Edition)". Retrieved 2014-02-23.

[4] "TOP500 Supercomputer Sites: Operating system Family / Linux". Top500.org. Retrieved October 23, 2013.

[5] "Android tops 81 percent of smartphone market share in Q3". Retrieved 4 November 4, 2013.