There was a time when, if you needed quality software for your computer, you had to get out your wallet and pay for it. Microsoft products have been and remain a prime example of this.
But then the open source movement picked up steam, and suddenly we were treated to outstanding quality products. Price? Absolutely nothing. Don’t you just love the Internet?
But what is source open source?
There are two forms of software – open source and closed (proprietary) code. It’s important to understand the difference.
Open source is when the source code (the code that runs the software) is publicly available. You can see how the features work, clone your own versions of that software and release them as open source (meaning you don’t profit from it). Open source projects are always free. This is the whole point.
On the other hand, closed source software (proprietary), as the name suggests, is completely closed source. Companies don’t want you to see the source code because they rely on source code to profit from their products.
For example, you will never see the source code for Microsoft or Apple products. It’s just not in their best interest. Can you run open source products on Microsoft or Apple operating systems, but get under the hood of Windows or macOS to test their code? Yeah, good luck.
Below are the biggest and best open source projects. Obviously, â€œbiggest and bestâ€ is very subjective, so maybe you disagree with me? If so, let me know.
Linux is probably the largest, best known, and most popular open source project in existence. Since its inception in 1991, there are now easily a couple of hundred active “distributions” of the Linux operating system (short for distributions). This includes the Tails system I recently described, and notable systems like Ubuntu, Linux Mint, and Debian
Linux is attractive to people who are turned off by the idea of ??having to pay for expensive operating systems, or to people who hate Windows.
Linux is supported by most major software applications, but the disadvantage is that installing these applications is not as easy as it is on Windows or macOS. Some technical skills are required.
I did not hide that I love Google Chrome, but there is still a place in my heart for Mozilla Firefox Firefox has been around longer than Chrome, and it was Firefox that began to break Microsoft’s browser monopoly.
However, I’m surprised that not many people know that Firefox is open source and that Mozilla is a non-profit organization. You are free to code review, participate in browser development, and even build your own browser based on Firefox code. Three examples: WaterFox, PaleMoon, and the Tor browser.
LibreOffice is a text editor suite that includes word processing documents, spreadsheets, databases, and “presentations” (their Powerpoint version). Although LibreOffice has its own file format, other file formats such as Microsoft files are fully supported and there is a convenient one-click PDF creation button.
I recently wrote about my love for KeePass, and while more brilliant contenders try to get my attention, my attachment to KeePass never diminishes. Of course, KeePass is a bit simple and functional. But sometimes that’s all you need.
Besides storing your passwords, it also has a very easy-to-use password generator. When you accept the suggested password, it automatically fills in the KeePass fields, so all you have to do is â€œsaveâ€.
Since KeePass is also portable, the password database file can be easily stored in the cloud and synchronized across computers.
Along with Linux, this is probably the most famous example of open source projects. A staggering 60 million websites use it to run everything from online stores to portfolios and blogs (and many other intermediate goals).
Let’s put it this way, if WordPress decided to stop development tomorrow, many websites would be in serious trouble.
I mentioned earlier that Mozilla Firefox was the best open source browser, but Google is also working on its own lightweight open source proposal.
Finally, cryptocurrency. Yes, even this is open source, as anyone can take an existing cryptocurrency, study the code, and create a new one. For example, I could take Bitcoin and use the code to create ONeillCoin if I was so inclined and had developmental skills.
But this is for another article and for those who know what they are talking about.