Even if you are not a programmer and have never tried to check a code of any of the programmes you are using, you still can recall a term “open source” for sure. Have you ever thought about its meaning and significance? Are you completely are of the differences between an open-source programme and a proprietary one? Why should it be important for people who can’t and are not planning to code on their own? Check this article and you will know the answers to these questions.
Open-source programmes vs proprietary programmes
Undeniably, even those people who have never been interested in understanding programming languages, are still aware they are needed for creating codes which are then executed as entire pieces of software or even operating systems for your computer. Indeed, with the help of a programming language you can create commands in order to interact with your computer and make it do what you want it to do.
The word source in the term “open-source” refers to the source code of a programme you are using which means exactly the code needed for a programme to be executed on your machine. If the project is open-source, the source code is open which means it is released along with the programme itself.
Actually, you can come across programmes which are released by their developers just in a form of exclusively a source code without a compiled version. In such a case, a user can compile the file on one’s own.
No matter, whether a programme is already available in a compiled form or not, if only it has an open code, it is regarded to be open-source.
A proprietary programme, on the contrary, doesn’t show any code to its users. This is remain as a secret. It doesn’t necessarily means that all of the proprietary software is available exclusively for money. You can come across free programmes without open codes. Still, the idea is that you do not have direct access to the code of such programmes. All of proprietary programmes are available in their compiled versions which gives the users exclusively a programme executable for installation on their devices.
The advantages of open-source software
Now, when you understand the differences between open-source software and so-called closed-source software, it’s time to understand the importance of the programmes with open source codes. Here you have some of the most crucial of them.
Pay your attention to all of them and do not feel that it doesn’t matter to you since you are not a programmer and can’t understand a single line of a code. This is still extremely important for every users of computer programmes and even if you are not going to use the source code of any of such software directly, choosing open-source programmes, you are supporting such projects.
Open-source programmes are helping people to learn programming
One of the most obvious reasons to use open-source programmes is promotion the education of future programmers. People who are studying programming can learn a lot through reading the codes of real programmes.
From this point of view, you can compare this type of programmes to libraries where everyone can read books free of charge. Of course, novice programmers are not only learning from such codes, but they can also get inspired to create their own software.
Open-source programmes are debugged and improved quicker
Since everyone can check the source code of an open-source programme, any bugs can be fixed a way quicker than it happens in the case of the software with a closed code. Actually, this means that open-source programmes can be improved by an entire community of users which is making such software particularly robust.
When it comes to the software with a closed code, it can be changed exclusively by the team of its developers. Not only does it limit the abilities of contributors, but it is also stretching the time of fixing bugs in the software.
Open-source software gives a variety of competitive versions of the initial software
One of the amazing features of open-source programmes is the fact one can easily use either a piece of their code or an entire code itself for creating their own projects. The way it enriches the market of software is obvious once you check the variety of versions of free open-source software available at the moment.
For instance, check the list of all the Linux distributions available today. You will find a great number of various versions of operating systems built on the Linux kernel. There are versions for developers, for personal users and many more. Such a variety is possible exactly due to the open-source nature of Linux itself.
Every developer who is interested in creating one’s own project is analysing the original code, estimating its advantages and disadvantages while working on one’s own concept. Thus, a lot of competitive software of the highest quality is being created.