The Open Source Community Is Remarkable
Software development is a collaborative affair and the process involves interaction at many levels. Developers rely on other developers to provide them with resources, knowledge and information to get their work done.
The interactions that developers have are best understood in the Open Source community. This is the case because information is widely available from such communities. The level with which software developers in Open Source communities help and support each other cannot be found anywhere else.
Open Source software is the term given to software that is distributed with its source code made available for other users. Source code is the code in the raw programming language that enables developers to modify the software without restriction.
Software For Free
It is a common misconception that Open Source Software is always free. This is not always the case. Software can be Open Source and also offered at a price. What makes Open Source Software is the fact that the source code is provided with the software and not whether there is a price tag attached to it.
However, most Open Source Software is free. The fact that developers of Open Source Software in most cases make it available to others for free is remarkable. It allows other developers to build their businesses on the strong foundation provided by others who are more capable.
For instance, Synergy Kinetics is built on a strong foundation of Open Source Software initiatives. The web development stack is comprised of free and Open Source Software from the operating system to the frameworks used.
All this is made possible by the Open Source Community. This is a group of people distributed all over the world who put in their time and expertise to develop software that others can reliably use and make it available for free.
This is a remarkable contribution that enabled me to get into software development and build Synergy Kinetics. A task that would not have been possible if I was to go with commercial closed source software.
Communities Around Open Source
What also makes Open Source Software remarkable is that it has developed communities around it from which people can get help and assistance when working with the software.
When working with software of any kind, especially as a developer, one finds moments when you are stuck and need help. There are two options to get help. The first one is to contact support for that particular software and the second one is to use forums for the software.
In most instances with Open Source Software, contacting support is only accessible if you have a subscription. This is one of the ways that developers of Open Source Software are able to generate some revenue.
As an alternative to paid support are forums which are readily accessible. In the forums, people having problems with the software can make posts and the software community, which includes developers of the software and other users can chip in to assist.
Motivations For Developers
It is easy to think that because most Open Source Software is free, then it must be of low quality. On the contrary most Open Source Software is of very high quality due to the fact that a lot of people review it and work on it to eliminate bugs.
The obvious question becomes, what motivates developers working on Open Source Software to devote their time and expertise for free? There are several motivations for software developers working on Open Source Software.
Experience is the first one. One of the best ways for a budding developer to gain hands on experience is to work on an Open Source Software project. The kind of environment they work in allows their work to be reviewed by more senior and experienced developers.
This is the best way to work on real life software with the guidance of more seasoned developers who will guide budding developers in the art of software development and help them on the path to gaining practical and valuable hands on experience.
Another motivation is the peer recognition and the increased sense of community. Working on Open Source Software projects allows a developer to build a reputation and gain recognition from other developers. Furthermore, as a developer working on an Open Source project, one can benefit from being part of a community built around the software and get a sense of belonging.
A third motivation to consider is job prospects. Working on Open Source Software provides a developer with a reference for job prospects. Since Open Source Software is publicly available, prospective employers can look at the work done by a developer by looking at their commit history made on public repositories such as Github.
In such repositories the work done by a developer can be easily inspected by prospective employers in order for them to evaluate the developer's skills for suitability for role as a developer on other projects.
The Open Source Community is remarkable indeed, users of software are able to receive assistance and support for the particular software they are using. Using Open Source Software is a good way to get into software development as the cost barrier is removed. These benefits and the willingness of the Open Source Community to help others makes it remarkable indeed.