Open Source is a methodology and concept used by organizations and software companies to produce a specific software technology.
In an Open Source model, a company or organization publishes a programing code base to a community of programmers so that they can contribute to the core programming, correct bugs, and enhance the technology’s offerings.
This process allows software products to be enhanced concurrently via the community’s collaboration. The result; a program that has been co-developed with programmers across the world for the benefit of the technology’s users. This program has been peer reviewed by these developers and bug fixes and enhancements can be provided by anyone in the community; sometimes in a more effective manner than a company can with exclusive internal developers.
Some organizations that support an Open Source model:
- Mozilla.org (makers of Firefox web browser and Thunderbird email program)
- OpenOffice.org (makers of Open Office program)
- Apache.org (makers of the #1 web server on the market)
- Linux.org (makers of the free, alternative Operating System for PC’s)
- MySql.org (makers of the #1 database engine for the internet)
- PHP.net (makers of the most widely used scripting language for web servers)
- Java.net (makers of the universal runtime technology that allows you to develop programs that will execute in Windows, Linux, Mac, as well as mobile phone operating systems)
Who provides capital, resources and support to the organizations above? Sun, HP, IBM, Microsoft, Apple, Google, Oracle, and the list continues.
Today, more and more software companies operate in a hybrid model, where internal programming staff co-develop with the software’s community developers in order to produce two versions of a software product.
Open Source Version
- 75%-80% of the Retail Product
- Support via Community exclusively
- Upgrade path to Retail Version
- 100% functionality plus the ability to enhance the product with available Open Source features/add-ons
- Support via a Support/Maintenance Agreements
Which products arose from this models? VMWare (virtualization), SugarCRM & VTiger (CRM), Zimbra (email), Alfresco & KnowledgeTree (Document Management Systems), Joomla and WordPress (Content Management Systems), Asterisk (Telephone PBX).