The open source is a public programming code that anyone can modify and share freely. It can refer to a programme, an application, or a software. The majority of us are using open source without even being aware of it, or without knowing how to use all the options of the open source.
The open source gives us the opportunity to update a programming code according to our need. The majority of open sources are free to download, meaning that there is no license to pay. This also mean that for some of them, there is no frequent updates. Audacity (audio recording), Libre Office (edition of document) or WordPress (CMS: Content Management System) are open source software. It is an important opportunity for the industries, to have to possibility to adapt open sources software’s to their own needs to answer to the demand of their clients.
For example, when someone is using the software WordPress, the design of the page is the basic code, a simple set up. The code established works as base for the user, to give the possibility to create a project easily. In any case, if the user isn’t satisfied with the main programming code, he as the possibility to modify and update. For instance, it is possible to make your own theme on WordPress: the theme can be modified whenever the user needs to change a part of the code. Once the user is satisfied with the new code, the creation of the project can finally start and then it can be easily shared with the world.
Why using an open source programme?
- To learn how to code or to improve your coding skills
- To have the freedom of creating what you really need
- To personalise your own project
- To use a software with the commands/settings you want/need
- To be able to update and fix the code easily and promptly (sometime with the help of programmers as the code is open to everyone, someone can comment if a mistake has been spotted)
Moreover, the project FOSS4SMES (Free Open Source Software for SMEs) aims to help European SMEs to increase their digital skills, in order to use free open source software. The goal is to establish an online educational resource for managers and staff to boost their business activities.
The European Commission is supporting the open sources’ use by managing through the Directorate-General for Informatics (DIGIT) the initiative “EU-FOSSA 2”. This project aims at improving the usage of open source software by organising meeting calls “Hackthons” during which attendees work on open source software’s’ matters such as: learning how to use efficiently open source software, creating project with the latest update, inspecting the security of a software and more.
To sum up, it is important to highlight that the open source programming code is also accessible to non-developers. The code is a universal language that anyone can understand. There is no need to learn all the characteristics of it: once you learn the basics you can easily understand how to manage the open source’s components.