Open Source Guide for Beginners

What is Open Source Software?

Open source software is software which source code is available to the general public for use and/or modification from its original design. Open source software is software that you can modify and share because its design is publicly accessible. Open source software is made by many people, and distributed under licenses that comply with the Open Source Definition. For e.g.

What is Source Code?

Source code is the part of the software that humans write. It is the code that is written in a programming language. It is the code that creates the software.

Advantage of Open Source Software

  • Usually free.
  • Reliable and secure than proprietary software.
  • Can be modified and enhanced.
  • Can be used for commercial purposes.
  • Better documentation.

What is Proprietary software?

Proprietary software is commercial software whose source code is not publicly available and is mostly sold to users. Users can only use the software but cannot modify it. For e.g.

  • Microsoft Windows
  • Microsoft Office
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe Premiere Pro

Difference between Open Source and Proprietary Software

Open Source Software Proprietary Software
Source code is available to the users. Source code is not open to the users.
Users can change and redistribute the software based on license. Users cannot change and redistribute the software.
Most open source software is free. Most proprietary software is not free.
Open source software is developed by many people. Proprietary software is developed by a single company.
Open source software is more secure. Proprietary software is less secure than open source.

Some Alternatives to Proprietary Software

Proprietary Software Open Source Software
Microsoft Windows Linux
Microsoft Office LibreOffice
Postman Hoppscotch
Adobe Photoshop GIMP
Adobe Premiere Pro Shotcut
Adobe After Effects Blender
Google Chrome [Proprietary but free] Firefox [Free and open source]

Is Open Source Software Free?

Most of the time, yes. Open source software is often free, but not always. Some open-source software is free, but some are not. You may have to pay for support, training, or professional services.

Where can I find open source software?

You can find open source software on the internet. Many websites offer open-source software. Some of the most popular websites are Github, Open Hub and SourceForge.

How to Contribute to Open Source Software?

You can contribute to open-source software by fixing bugs, adding features, and improving documentation. You can also create your own open-source software. You can contribute to open source software by following these steps:

  • Find a project that you want to contribute to on GitHub.
  • Fork the project.
  • Clone the project to your local machine.
  • Create a new branch.
  • Make changes to the code.
  • Commit the changes.
  • Push the changes to your remote repository.
  • Create a pull request.

Open Source Licenses

Before you can use open source software, you must understand the license under which it is distributed. The license is a legal document that grants you certain rights to use, modify, and share the software. The license also specifies what you cannot do with the software. The most common open source licenses are:

  • MIT License
  • Apache License
  • BSD License
  • GNU General Public License
  • GNU Lesser General Public License
  • Mozilla Public License
  • Eclipse Public License
  • Artistic License
  • Common Development and Distribution License
  • IBM Public License
  • Microsoft Public License
  • Sun Industry Standards Source License