What is Open Source Software and Why Does it Matter?

Open Source Software

When we search for free computer software, we come across open-source software. FOSS are freely available and free to use, we don’t need to pay for the software, and they provide great value to the user. There are many FOSS from Web browsers, Media Software, Documents, Security software, Utility software, and Image and video editing software.

The most popular open-source software are Linux, OBS, GIMP, LibreOffice, and more. Here we will discuss what open-source software is and why it matters. Do you know? There are some issues with open-source software; check the linked article to learn more.

What is open-source software?

The term “Open Source” refers to any computer programming whose source codes are visible to everybody. So, the source codes are open for you to use. Many software development companies use open-source applications and create software packages.

They are free to use, we don’t need to pay. Anyone can use the software and even source code can change or use it to create new software.

Linux is an open-source Operating System whose source codes gave birth to Ubuntu. Google launched the Chrome Browser from the source codes of the Chromium Browser, which is also open-source. These are a couple of examples of how the source codes produce new software packages.

Is Open Source Equal to Free?

To answer the question, we should learn more about open source. The source codes are available for you to use and then create new software packages. However, these newly formed software packages may involve costs.

Now, if we go back to the question again, open-source applications are free to get. However, customized software packages may not be free. It depends on the developer whether he wants to charge anything or not.

Some software is free but not open source. For example, Google Chrome is free. These free software are called freeware. Both of the software types are free to download and use.

Why do Companies Develop Open Source Software?

When a company develops an application, they don’t know whether people buy it or not, contains any bugs or not. Hence, they submit such applications to open-source communities so that they can figure out their possibilities. The open-source communities grab these chances and build software packages.

The companies then follow what the open source communities do with it and help them to upgrade those applications. Now, to answer the main question, the companies earn a reputation and to add to that, they also get to test their product for free.

Differences Between Open Source and Proprietary Software

Open-source applications are free to use, and the source codes are available. So, if you are a developer, we can use them as you wish. In the case of proprietary applications, also known as closed-source applications, the company holds legal rights to all assets included in that application.

Hence, you must buy these applications. However, even after you buy such applications, the source codes are cloaked. So, you won’t be able to see them.

Giant software development companies like Microsoft and Apple hide the source codes and take disciplinary measures to keep them encrypted. You can try encrypting Android, which is open-source.


As we have discussed the basics of open and closed-source applications, we can now discuss which one you should use. The fact that open source applications are free to use, people should be interested in that. However, when we buy something, we should also consider the after-sales service. In this aspect, proprietary applications like Windows by Microsoft, or Mac by Apple, clearly have a better support team.

Open-source applications allow you to develop any program or application. If you are a developer, you are getting a jump-start as the source codes are available. All you need to be is to be associated with open-source communities and let them guide you. All in all, we can say that open source is the future.

Posted by
Ajoy Kumar

He is a Computer Science graduate dedicated to empowering individuals to forge successful careers in programming and the dynamic world of technology and industry.

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