Open Source is a very common term in the IT industry. Perhaps, you have already explored numerous similar articles before this one. And, to be honest, they try to be useful and full-filled by providing you with great information and data. However, our mission is to get you through the journey of fresh thoughts.
Buckle up! What is the connection between the most freedom-loving and utopian event of the world Burning Man and the Open Source software community?
“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’Reilly, O'Reilly Media Founder
What is Open Source Software Development?
Usually, open source can be defined as software with a free source code that is publicly available. Open source enables each developer an opportunity to define, learn in detail, use in primary condition, or even configure for their needs and purposes. First of all, open source is about the friendly community, where you can collaborate with colleagues, improve your skills, and even become a mentor for somebody who has an idea to release and has not enough skills to turn it into a reality.
On Github, developers cooperate to create an error-free and more full-value software according to the new features they contribute to it or changing some existing.
Top 5 Open Source Platforms Benefits for Business
No stick to the vendor. There is no need to wait while the software publisher would hear your claims. You can manage them with your team. This gives you freedom of choice and flexibility.
Maintenance. It is easy-to-master by your own middle+ developers; thus, they would be able to deploy the features you would need. Whether you would hire on board or just outsource this task, you can easily update and develop your product.
No black-box approach - you can see what is inside, how your data is kept and transferred. A totally glass boxed solution gives transparency for any maneuvers.
Consists of trendy technologies/ frameworks under its hood, open-source platforms are like gateways to a new 3d party solutions.
Total control. You are assuming control for the platform's initial source code to configure it further for your needs.
Open Source Software Rising Popularity
You have already noticed that many companies start following the trend that appeared in the developers’ community. Open source provides an approach for participating companies to collaborate on developments that could bring a mutual value to both parties. Thus, from startup to big enterprise, companies are massively transferring their operations on the FOSS. In this case, they can easily configure a ready solution according to their main purpose and, moreover, they can integrate open source code to the microservice architecture to the software they are developing for commercial activities. Using free & open source solutions in many departments save costs from using proprietary software alternatives, especially CRMs.
You have already seen many articles where there are pros & cons, features, and descriptions of the hottest open source products. However, all these articles consider all the solutions from the describing and objective point of view. It's okay, however, our team would love to present some dearly loved software products based on open source code from the subjective and practical side. To realize this idea, we have interviewed some of our employees whose work is tied up on the open source programs usage.
Blender is a free and open source 3D creation studio. Software is able to support all the 3D creation workflow from the modeling to final video editing. experienced developers apply Blender's API to Python scripts for application customization and special tools creation. Usually, they would be included in the next patch.
Blender is a cross-platform software, thus, it is a perfect match for developers who work on Linux, Windows, and Mac as well. To provide consistency Blender's interface was built with OpenGL.
Our Business Analyst Kateryna use it in a spear time for her hobby:
"I am still not a pro user, I am an amateur in 3D Graphic Design and Blender helps me to develop my creative skills as well. I am trying my best to picture Blender scenes from computer games. I have already tried to recreate scenes from the Crysis and World of Warcraft." ~ Kateryna Boiko, XM^ONLINE Business Analyst
GIMP (General Image Manipulation Program) is an advanced raster graphics editor, which is the purest representative of the free and open source software. GIMP allows designers to retouch and edit images the way they prefer, provides 2D artists with free-shape drawing opportunities, and features for more specialized tasks.
This is a cross-platform software, thus it is supported by GNU/Linux, macOS, Windows, and more operating systems.
Many users used to know GIMP once as a great photo editor and graphics creation program. However, now GIMP has a more tremendous proprietary-based competitor software - Adobe Photoshop.
Thus, GIMP is waiting for a powerful recovery one day like the game Half-Life is waiting for its third part of the franchise by Valve Corp.
“I used to work with GIMP at school on the Informatics Lessons and it was actually my first graphic editor ever. Then, Photoshop 3 was released, and I focused on PS learning and forgot about the GIMP. I think GIMP is no longer an interesting platform for designers, unfortunately. Nevertheless, it can be a perfect match for open source communities. It is worthy to pay attention to its non-ideal features and try to fix or improve the algorithms it has.” ~ Maryna Konoplinova, Freelance UX Designer
Docker is a PaaS software development tool that aims to make packing, shipping, and running any application as a lightweight, portable, self-sufficient container, which can be run virtually anywhere.
Docker is an open source solution, which means it can be easily adapted for any size companies development needs. And, moreover, many modern IT companies use adopted Docker. It is worthy to mention that Docker due to the 2020 StackOverflow Developer Survey is the most loved and wanted container technology, as it was loved by 73.6% of interviewed developers and 24.5% want to master it professionally.
“Once you become a Senior developer, you realize that there is something missing in your portfolio. I was facing the need for open source contribution projects presence. For example, we use Docker for faster and easier creation, deployment, and running applications. However, as an expert, I have already noticed what I would love to contribute to Docker once I have more spare time for such a type of activity. Hope it could be helpful for the fellows who are missing the same features as I do. ” ~ Anatoliy Medvedchuk, XM^ONLINE Chief Architect
Ubuntu is the most popular PC operating system among office employees for cloud computing. It is a Linux distribution based FOSS. It is free and easy to use. It can be a great match for masOS and Windows as well.
Ubuntu easily connects with the thousands of the most popular and highly-needed programs for your business, like messengers, programming tools, etc.
Ubuntu shares each patch with open source code with the community - this is the most transparent way to agree on a development cycle with open source contributor.
“It made a revolution with the first open-source operating system in the world, which could be used by nonprofessional users. Personally, I loved the distribution model: free CD copy sending on a par with a downloading option.” ~ Victor Kmita, XM^ONLINE CEO
Salesforce is a CRM service for marketing, human resource, business development, and other management circles of responsibilities solving. Salesforce releases diverse projects capable of solving infrastructure, security, app development, and artificial intelligence issues. And the company appreciates contributing needed features to the source code of your business goals achievement.
“Simple to use, easy to understand. I like tools that aim to help people with their daily routine. It gives freedom to do more important things and some space for innovations and future business development.” ~ Iryna Manukovska XM^ONLINE Marketing & Innovation Head
The Culture of Caring & Sharing
Have you ever heard about the most radical and the most expressive fest in the world that is taking place in Nevada, the USA? Did you guess what we are talking about? No?! It is Burning Man fest!
At XM^ONLINE, we have noticed that the Open Source community follows the same principles as the fest Burning Man is promoting during the last 36 years each summer. 7 of them totally match, and 3 of them are not suitable to open source. You can find out below the comparison of these two phenomena.
There is an exciting similarity between the open-source main logo and the shape of the main square Playa at Black Rock City.
#1. Freedom of Self-Expression
The Burning Man fellows are allowed to express their individuality and feelings the way they feel they should till it does not break the freedom frames of the other people. However, all the Burning Man fest principles are more oriented to sociology and psychology to build for one summer week a possible utopian society. The most popular way people show their individuality via the costumes they wear there. Some of them are unreally surrealistic, referring to the Mad Max movie.
And in the context of the Open Source community, each developer can transform his own ideas and desires into the software prototype or full-value software with the source code they have written on their own. It is a rare situation when somebody hides their authorship while developing something open source.
#2. Radical Inclusion
At Burning Man, this means that anyone can be a part of the community. However, you have to provide yourself with all you will need for all the week you will be spending at Black Rock City, including your accommodation conditions.
The same is able to characterize participation in the open source community. You are on your own, however, you have a right to join this development rave.
"Burning Man is devoted to acts of gift-giving. The value of a gift is unconditional. Gifting does not contemplate a return or an exchange for something of equal value."
At the open source development process, you are also not required to be paid for your special software development achievements. You may perceive it as a sharing or "gifting".
#4. Radical Self-Reliance
At Burning Man, you should count only at you and your own resources and equipment you have taken with yourself.
In open source software development, there are usually some full-value and finished open source productions; however, to get the best result, a perfect match to your business needs, you may count on your own hard skills.
#5. Communal Efforts
Due to written rules at Burning Man, fest participants in the Black Rock Desert are encouraged to work with and help fellow participants to make the life of the society easier and more enjoyable.
The same behavior is welcome at open source online communities. To become an expert and start creating your own open source software you have to not afraid of asking questions and creating issues, start to hear radical and rational criticism, handle your mistakes & not afraid of expressing your own expert opinion, sharing relevant and useful code snippets to fellows who need.
Yes, you can be only an observer on the festival, but visiting it for the second or third time makes you want to become a participant of the whole process, as you can't stand apart anymore, you feel a strong need to be there, to be a part of it.
By listening to the stories of some real developers, who have released to open source, we have noticed this particular principle in action. For the first time, they have just used open source solutions without trying to find out and analyze their nature, just copy-paste. But issues begin once they faced the task for which they could not find an appropriate solution, and here an open source journey begins: you try to get help or try to create a solution on your own, you learn, you mistake, you achieve, you get a successful open source solution and decide to share your joy with fellows. And here you are - a newbie in the open source community.
When you create a software solution, you take responsibility for the stakeholders involved and the technical debt you generate. Fast-code open source platform usage helps to the implied cost of additional rework. While choosing a limited black box solution would take longer to implement and demands more effort to deliver. From the architectural point, solutions based on microservices claim more straightforward architecture and less hardware to maintain, this helps to stop global warming!
On the other hand, open source is about contribution - you can share something you did to others. It is all about a sustainable way of doing business and sustainable software solutions!
Why Choose Open Source Solutions (Essential Pros & Cons)
Before deciding on open source solutions implemented inside your company, you should have clear pros and cons arguments. Thus, it is worthy of considering it from different sides: for business and for software development.
Open Source Platforms Usage Business Benefits
Development Costs. To start up with an open source development you just need to find an appropriate code for your business needs, get a minimal consultancy from an expert, and start your work. It is much easier to do and cheaper to deploy. Even if you widen your code and you will be maintaining it in the future, in total all this process will take fewer costs than proprietary code.
Reliability & Less Unexpected Errors. Because anyone can access the source code, open source software improves consistently and its longevity raises. Moreover, as each contributor can approach a source code and its later modifications to explore and edit it for their purposes, they also fix errors permanently. Thus, everybody gains software with a minimum number of errors and the latest updates & patches.
Fast Adaptation to Microservice Architecture Software. We believe that open source can become a great addition to microservice architecture solutions. There is no more need to use proprietary solutions due to specialized requirements at particular places to create a multi-composite and scalable application from scratch. just apply a ready developed open source code for the service you need for now at your microservice application. It is worthy to say about the flexibility and automation an open source code is able to bring to the application you develop just by originating cross-cutting services such as authentication, BPMN, resources & devices, balancing & billing, monitoring, and many other.
Free Innovations Promotion. Free promotion is the most lucrative point here. As for business, it is valuable to engage more leads for fewer costs, and open source software is a great decision to do it, almost for free. All you need is to present the source code of the initial development to the community and propose them to help in the code configuration for their business needs. They will get more than even high-quality software, they will get an opportunity to learn how to create appropriate source code from scratch and configure it for their business with diverse patches.
Open Source Solution Benefits for Developers & Architects
Burning Out Avoidance. The most terrifying thing in each software engineer career is emotional and professional burning out. Usually, software developers are motivated by the salary they earn, and the second factor affects their productivity is the project. What is this project? How exciting and longevity is it? What stack does it require? Does this project allow you to learn new technologies and widen your own stack? However, finding a project that will be the best fit for you particularly is a hard task. Thus, open source community participation is a perfect opportunity for each specialist to gain new experience in software development, to get acquainted with new technologies, and to try to lead your own project based on your idea to bring it to huge success.
Freedom to Innovate and Experiment. Working on the commercial project limits developers in self-expression, while open source projects give them the freedom to innovate. A perfect field to make mistakes and explore "what if" issues. Source code, primarily, is a kind of art for people who love programming and are full of ideas that could be potentially valuable and important solutions for some companies.
Gaining New Expertise. Not a secret that expertise is primarily a practice, not a theory. Learning new technologies is great, but you need to train more and more to be able to use them in your work in full-value.
Mentoring the New Generation. Even if you are about to be only a performer in software development, but you feel yourself a great expert in your stack, you can participate in the open source community as a mentor for guys who have ideas, but they lack knowledge or expertise in the required technologies. Fixing errors may give you relevant experience in the quality assurance field as well as improve the skills of your fellows.
What To consider while choosing Open Source Solutions
Security Risks. Open source code is a perfect match for startups and SMEs in a sense of secureness. It does not take a long time to fix all the issues and bugs appeared, as this process is kept on by a community. However, large enterprises usually face long-term and exhausting searching for issues and solving them. On the other hand, malware can be potentially uploaded by the irate or resentful developer that is capable of causing a whole disaster for the enterprise. Nevertheless, it is not worthy to forget that the risk of backdoor malware is still high even for proprietary software. So you can provide security audit of the solution to see weather you can rely on it or not, just like we do with XM^ONLINE for our clients.
Lack of Appropriate Support. A great feature proposed by commercial software solutions is 24/7 technical support & service: regular updates and anytime issues solving calls can accelerate any process held by the software. However, it is a rare thing among open source code software. Otherside, you can ask for help from the community for free. However, you should remember that in case you do not possess development skills, it might be the hardest task ever for you to puzzle out how it works and where the fix is needed. We understand the importance of qualified 2D and 3D level of enterprise support, that’s why we offer it as a service for our clients. We’ve developed a ticket system to track all the issues and make a collaboration more successful!
Therefore, open source is not only a philosophy, but a perfect option for a Digital Transformation projects and new ideas launching. While choosing this low fruit you receive access to scalability, flexibility and product control with less efforts. This gives opportunity to focus on yuour business but not a software development. We at XM^ONLINE believe in contribution and continuous development. Open source core motivates us to create the better product because our customers rely on us!