In the early days of computing, all software was free. Seems like an unbelievable concept, but in reality, during the 1960s the philosophy was that company sold hardware and they just provided the software for free. Companies like IBM and Honeywell just sold the hardware they provided the source code for the applications with little or no restrictions on to use or distribution of the software.
In the 1970s the philosophy of software began to change. Companies began to realize that Computer Software was expensive to produce and they started to view the software as intellectual property which had value. During this time, software began to be protected with only binaries being provided to the purchaser, there was no source code made available, and licensing agreements came with restrictions on the distribution of the software.
Realizing that software or was valuable intellectual property, companies look for new ways to protect their investments in software development. The next stage of software protection resulted in several vehicles:
At the same time, there were people who were developing the beginnings of open source software, and in order to get a lot of people involved in developing software the computer science research group at UC Berkeley, headed by bob Fabry began improving UNIX and building applications that were known as BSD Unix. In the late 1980s, you could get this free BSD license, although you still needed an AT&T license for some parts of the kernel. While this was happening on the West Coast, there was also development going on on the East Coast. This was led at the MIT artificial intelligence lab. A person by the name of Richard Stallman and, who was a programmer in the lab started the GNU project and the free software foundation and. His goal with the GNU project was to create a complete operating system following the principles of the GNU Manifesto. The free software foundation was developed to build a community of people and to support development in the use of free software. Richard was very interested in getting like-minded people to band together and create a free software and his manifesto was a view of how software could improve humanity. So back on the West Coast, development of BSD chief operating system continued which evolved into many different versions, most notably 386BSD, NetBSD, and OpenBSD. These operating systems are still in great use even today, and are used by many large web hosting companies.
At this time (early 1990s) Linus Torvald, a computer science student was creating a Unix kernel called linux in Finland.
Torvald took Linux plus the GNU project apps created a complete open source operating system, known as Linux.
At the same time a guy named Tim Berners – Lee invents the HTTP protocol and names it the WWW or World Wide Web, and at this time many important components to help share information are created and distributed. Things like Apache (a web server), Sendmail (e-mail component), and BIND) were all created in the open source community. This made the Internet/WWW a free software distribution vehicle.
During this time, OSS was driven by two groups, GNU and BSD and these groups had different ideas about software. The GNU group saw free software as a philosophy, while the BSD group saw free software as a pragmatic issue. At this time the GNU “and general public license” (GPL) and was created. This created some challenges fourth the OSS community. For the folks who really wanted software to be developed and distribute via GNU, this was great and but for many other people and businesses saw this as a danger because if their software contained code that was part of the GPL, they might have to distribute their own code freely. This caused a backlash against FSF and the GPL license, because many felt that it would prevent them from establishing a business that could make money with free software. They also didn’t see software as a philosophical crusade then, and they didn’t see proprietary software as evil. And so rather than call it free software, and a group of individuals and came up with the concept of open software and created a license that was open source and more business friendly and then Fre software. This began as a lobbying group called the open source initiative and a license known as open source had two follow the 10 principles of open source definition. This spawned a lot of new licenses, like the MIT license, the Apache license, the creative commons license, etc.
An open source software development began with two styles of development, called The Cathedral and The Bazaar. These were two very different styles and of open source development. Cathedral was a very regimented carefully and controlled architectural based process. Bazaar, was quite different, and was characterized by a rapid release method with all changes given out freely and followed a survival of the fittest approach.
The main tenets of the Bazaar Model were:
1) Users are treated as co-developers and are given access to source code, and can report bugs, etc
2) Release often and early
3) Frequent Integration
4) Several versions (stable vs. development)
5) Employ high modularization
6) Dynamic decision making
Open source software has many strengths and weaknesses that present challenges to a team. So a hierarchical model is used to manage the teams. This means that people have to go through several roles before they can rise to the level of a project manager.
One company that has been successful with Open Source Software is Oracle. They purchased MySQL, and currently have about 8000 customers who pay for support of the software as well as updates. Even though users pay only 1-10% of the cost of Oracle database software, there are one new customer for every 1000 free users. Oracle has made the business decision to support these users because they see them as potential paying customers and future employees. The company currently employs about 60 developers all over the world, and many of them work at home.
As you become a software professional, learning development and participating in open source projects can be an excellent way to achieve visibility for your work, showcasing your skills and abilities.
Open source development can be a very rewarding experience. Developers do it for the passion that they have for creating software. They love what they do and in shows in the quality of the product. People will put much more effort into something that they love to do as opposed to doing something merely for the remuneration. There is a strong sense of community and many developers like that philosophy. That means acting professionally and treating others with kindness and respect. This is done in an environment that typically lacks a lot of formality, but that does not mean that there are no standards of behavior. It’s just that they are not written down.
There are many advantages to developing open source software. Many developers enjoy the interaction among like-minded people. They enjoy the ability to share ideas and collaborate to get a better result. There are real advantages to having an experienced team, with many resources.
If you are an open source developer and you want to start an open source software project, it’s important to have a good open source hosting environment. The open source movement is based on communication and collaboration. It’s extremely important that you have a web hosting system that makes the development process seamless. The open source development process requires the ability to quickly deploy new software releases as well as manage multiple copies of releases. It’s important to provide access to both current and stable releases.
Open source project hosting requires specialized software functionality. You don’t want to just get regular web hosting and put together your own site. It’s better to use proven vendors, as your project will benefit from reliable proven host and your team members will likely already have experience with the features of the software.
The following hosting providers are well known in the industry and provide reliable hosting for OSS development. Please read below to learn about the different vendors and their benefits.
Although there are other Open Source Project Hosting sites, I have listed what I find to be the top ones out there, based on size, longevity and user reviews. I’d recommend that you take a look at them, try out one that meets your particular project needs.
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