Open Source Software
Open Source Software has started gaining more and more recognition all over the world and Nigeria has not been left behind. Below we have put together information on Open Source Software. Please visit this page again soon to find information about upcoming Open Source Initiatives and Projects, driven and supported by the National Information Technology Development Agency.
Q: Why use open source?
A: The primary reason IT organizations turn to open source is cost: open source software comes without licensing fees. Other reasons include getting the latest in innovation, source code control, and vendor neutrality.
Q: What are the differences between open source software, freeware and shareware?
A: Freeware refers to executables that are freely available for use, but unlike open source software the source code is not available nor is there a community or development infrastructure that supports contributions. Shareware is software that can be downloaded and evaluated for free, but users are supposed to pay when shareware is deployed.
Q: Does that mean open source development is free?
A: No. The code is free, but any professional services used during development are priced the same as if using commercially available software. Most organizations that use open source, however, realize considerable savings across the life of the project.
Q: Can open source software contain adware, spyware or viruses?
Open source projects are consistently free of adware, spyware and viruses. This is because the source code is available to everyone; if a developer were to add rogue code to a project it would be immediately visible to others in the community.
Q: Is code quality sacrificed for innovation?
A: Typically not. Innovation comes from the fact that a large number of developers are contributing to the project, which means that a large number of developers are using, and therefore testing the project. In addition, because open source projects are not constrained to formal release schedules, bug fixes are made available almost immediately.
Q: Is open source software safe to use in the back office?
A: Absolutely. Linux and MySQL have proven that open source projects are enterprise class and can be used in mission-critical infrastructure and applications.
Q: With all the contributions, how can one be assured of getting a stable and consistent release?
To address this concern there are certain groups offering tested, certified and numbered releases of open source products that include the code from open source projects. These releases are open and are available at no cost.
Q: Are professional services available for projects that use open source software?
A: Many companies offer support for projects that use open source software. This is a source of income for companies that deal in Open Source Software.
Q: What are licensing restrictions of open source software?
There is a range of open source licenses, and the Open Source Initiative is a good source for information on this topic.
Two common open source licenses include:
Apache Software License – allows free use and distribution of the software and documentation. This is preferred by ISVs that incorporate open source software in their commercially available products.
GNU general Public license (GPL) / GNU Lesser general Public license (LGPL) – allows free use of the software and documentation, but users cannot redistribute it in their own products.
Q: Can projects in incubation be used for mission-critical applications?
Absolutely. Apache’s criteria for graduating projects from incubation in no way reflects the quality of the code. It reflects the status of the community and whether it has established itself according to Apache guidelines. Developing and organizing the community takes time, often 1.5 years and longer. In the mean time, the code is often of production quality and is appropriate for enterprise use.
Q: How widespread is open source software use?
A: Most analyst reports and industry surveys are consistent in saying that open source adoption is extensive and that the reaction has been positive.