The quick answer: the underlying source code of the system is publicly available. For most open source projects, that also means that the development is done in public, everyone can contribute to the code.
That does not mean that anyone can just change things. There are still maintainers who make sure that everything that goes into the project has the same high standards. Often, this also means that this software is of higher quality and can be obtained without licence fees.
- Budget: No expensive purchase costs have to be paid just to start developing a project.
- Better: More developers are actively working on the software, which leads to fewer bugs.
- No vendor lock-in: Since there are many companies that use Open Source Software for the development of their projects, customers can always switch to another vendor.
- Much available documentation: There are large communities and conferences around the projects that we use, from these conferences most of the presentations will also be online, because that is in the nature of people who use OSS. So this also ensures sufficient documentation.
- Long-term availability: The software we have chosen has been available for years. They are stable and popular in the software world. Because there are no companies that have sole control over this software, it will be supported for the long term.
There are various licences under which Open Source software is made available. Most of the software we use has chosen the MIT or GNU General Public License. These licences stipulate that the use of the software is free, and that changes made to the core must also be shared back with the project.
Are there any disadvantages to using Open Source software? Not really. The tendency of multinationals to opt for open source illustrates this well. Yet there is an important point of attention:
- Not always professional support available: Because some open source software projects are leisure projects for the people developing it, there is not always good, paid support.
For that, you call upon a professional partner such as Codana, who can offer a broad team in project development and aftercare & support services.
This way of building software is not always easy; creating an open source framework is difficult and lengthy work.
Fortunately, there are usually companies that sponsor the development of these frameworks, but since we all use them, it is only logical that we also give back.
So if we find a bug in the framework we are using, we will always at least create a bug report for it, or check to see if one already exists and provide it with additional information.
If the bug prevents us from writing functionality that is needed for the project, then we will also fix this bug and give back to the whole community, so that we too can do our bit to keep the open source community alive.
Are you convinced that your next project should be based on open source software? Or would you like to create your own open source library?