TECHNOLOGY:



Open Source Technology

By Mwaniki A Ngari

Shaping the future of Software The fact that Android currently commands almost 82% of the global smartphone market with over 1.1 billion Android powered smartphone units having been shipped into the world market in the last year alone has brought the debate on the open source vs. proprietary software debate to the fore.

The fact that 78% of the companies are currently running on open source software whose use has nearly doubled in the last four years and 61% of users believe that open source software is on the rise. Furthermore, Red Hat a open source Linux operating system is the fastest growing server OS

For open source based software, its code is available to anyone for customization and modification from its original design. This gives a chance to developers to improve its source code and share it with the open source community. Open Source software tends to be more secure since more people are able see and test the code hence any flaws are detected and fixed quickly such as the Linux Kernel Exploit flaw discovered recently. On the other hand the proprietary software takes weeks and even months to patch up any vulnerability such as the Microsoft's Internet Explorer zero day flaw. This highly inconveniences businesses in the meantime.

Open source software that is created, tested and modified by thousands of developers and engineers is naturally bound to be of better quality as compared to proprietary software whose development involves just a handful of programmers. Moreover, businesses can take a piece of open source software ,customize it to suit their needs and functions as much as they want while the changing of proprietary software or using it without a license will most probably land you in jail.

Proprietary software users are subjected to the mercies, dictates, prices and timetables of the companies developing the software while open source software users can make the decision of how to use the software in addition have a community of thousands of developers and engineers at their disposal to help with that.

Open source has transformed from the pariah Microsoft condemned as "cancer" in 2001 to the default that proprietary businesses have to pretend to embrace or even be in 2015. Businesses have moved beyond seeing open source as a way to avoid license fees and are seeing its real value: putting architectural control back in their own hands, gaining new choices for consulting, service, and support, and then regaining negotiating power with their vendors. Today's business masters of open source indeed see reduced costs, but they arise from re-empowerment, not from license fee avoidance.

Open source is the future. Web, mobile, and cloud solutions are increasingly built predominantly on open source infrastructure. Some data and analytic solutions are only available in open source. Future architectures are highly likely to be based on open source, as they are today in mobile solutions with the Android platform; web solutions, where the large majority of websites are based on open source technology; and cloud solutions, where almost all, with the exception of Microsoft's cloud, are based on open source solutions as well.

Open source is attracting more talent as many enjoy creating their own projects and having the ability to interact with others outside their enterprise to develop solutions. Open source is clearly revolutionizing the world of software.