What is Open Source Software?
In the world of software development many applications need to have the same features. For example, you may need to build a store to sell your widgets. Thankfully, you don’t need to hire a coder to program a store from scratch. Many developers have been kind enough to post their store code online, and you can just choose to use theirs. Aside from saving development costs, there are lots of benefits to using shared code:
- Bugs may be fixed, and you can pull those fixes into your code base.
- New features may be contributed by the community, which you can pick up and use.
- If you need help, there are other programmers in the community whom you can ask.
- If you need to hire a new programmer, they might already be familiar with the open source code.
- If you improve the software you can potentially submit it back to the main codebase and everyone gets to benefit from your change. No you don’t get paid for this, but you do get to feel like a responsible person.
Is Open Source just software?
There are a lot of things that make up a successful open source community, and it’s not just about sharing code. Aside from sharing code a successful open source community needs people who:
- Write or update documentation.
- Provide feedback about the project.
- Support people new to the project.
- Testing and reporting bugs.
- Creating artwork & website design.
- Teach others how to use the code.
- Administrate the project and decide what features & bugs need to be worked on.
- Design and architect the software.
- Translate to other languages.
There are a lot of roles and a lot of things you need to do right, which is why spending your free time building open source can be a thankless job. There are a lot of people who play various roles for no other reason than their passion for helping people.
We speak to the people who passionately choose to spend their time building the Open Source community. Not because they have to, but because they love to.
About the host
Gregg Pollack is a serial entrepreneur who is passionate about teaching software development online. He founded Code School, an online software programming school which was acquired by Pluralsight, Envy, a web application development firm, and Starter Studio, Orlando’s first technical accelerator now in it’s seventh class. He lives in downtown Orlando where he parents two children, writes on his blog when the mood strikes him, and helps build the tech and startup community in the region.
If you want to get in touch or have any feedback we’d love to hear from you.