Have you ever wondered what makes up your favourite technologies? One of the many marvels of technology is that it never functions all by itself; there are always multiple components and multiple conditions to make any technology exist and function.
“The whole is greater than the sum of the parts” is a quote commonly attributed to Aristotle’s Metaphysics (Book VIII, 1045a.8–10). Certainly, it is true for our favourite technologies.
When I discovered my favourite technology existed because of something called open source (OS). I became interested in the importance of open source and can’t stop sharing it with others. In this short article, I’ll introduce you to the beauty of open source to pique your interest so you can learn more as you grow along your tech journey.
What is Open Source?
As a quick definition, open source is a method of developing software (applications, operating systems, features, etc.) that allows people to access the original code and work together to study, modify, improve, and share it. This method harnesses the collective brainpower of diverse perspectives, resulting in innovative ideas, insights, methods, and solutions. The term open source was created in the 1990s, but the concept is older than the notion of Free Software. By 2020, it became such a standard practice to experiment with different technologies that 95% of companies use open source to enhance their products.
Let’s think of an iceberg to help us understand better. The top portion can be seen by the public. This represents the software that is easily accessible to everyone and made available for anyone to use, study, and/or improve. What’s happening underneath, that we cannot see so easily, are the things that make open source so successful; the codebase, community, documentation, support, and more.
Benefits of Open Source
Let’s explore some benefits. Open source allows different people and organizations to work together. For organizations, this collaboration helps attract talent, spark interesting solutions, speed up development, enhance security and improve product quality. Contributors benefit from access to tools, resources, and projects, by developing more skills, being part of a knowledgeable community and advancing their careers.
There are many beauties of open source to be discovered when you inquire further. I often get to see the thriving ecosystem that benefits everyone involved. Because open source allows people from diverse ways of thinking to come together to create new solutions, ideas that were only thought bubbles at one time, become amazing technologies that never existed before.
Now that you’ve been introduced to open source, you can investigate more too. You can research further about the definition, history, benefits, use cases, and details of how open source works. I invite you to examine your favourite technologies and see how open source has played a part in helping them exist and function.
Can you see the beauty of how the multiple components and conditions that make up your favourite technologies are greater than the sum of their parts?
Happy researching and have fun learning!
This article was written by Maria Silverhardt, Sr. Open Source Community Strategist, Wipro Limited, Inc. Find them on LinkedIn here >>