Tech Spec: An Open Source

The Internet has given society so much. We can find out whatever information we need, share news with friends in an instant and even keep up with an onslaught of cute animal photos (yeah, we both know you love them too). One of the best aspects of the Internet community is how society combines its offerings to make things possible that could not have occurred without it. The open source community is one of the biggest achievements thus far. Now, you are probably thinking, “how can this open source stuff be such a big advancement, if I have not even heard about it?”

You probably have not heard much about the open source community, other than some software (like Google’s Android OS) being “open source,” and the reasoning behind that is “open source” comes from the developer community. As defined by our good friends at Wikipedia, open source “is a philosophy, or pragmatic methodology that promotes free redistribution and access to an end product's design and implementation details.” In other words, open source is the sharing of ideas so that the end result can come together. Wikipedia is a popular example of being open sourced because anyone can go in and add to the knowledge base. Being open source is probably one of the best things that can happen nowadays; progress comes much faster and the list of possibilities becomes endless.

Wikipedia is a largely popular open source website. Taking part in the open source world will not only better you, but everyone. Wikipedia is a largely popular open source website. Taking part in the open source world will not only better you, but everyone.

This has become such a big deal that an initiative was started to promote and educate what positive outcomes form from open source projects. Going back to the Wikipedia example, there can also be negative outputs from this setup. Since everyone can input, there can be errors. People can upload the wrong information (either intentionally or unintentionally) and negate the truthful work that has been implemented. Unless there is some sort of hierarchy overseeing (but not controlling) the inputted data, which Google and Wikipedia have, open source setups are basically faith systems; you should put in something that will help better the overall end result. Whenever you see an open source product, be thankful that everyone has put in their part to give you this product. Just be sure to give back to the open source machine whenever you can, so it can grow!

 

If you have any questions or comments, email me at cejeffre@asu.edu and follow me on Twitter @Court_Jeffrey. Enjoy!


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