Open Source, why?

EN | PT

During my professional and personal life, I have worked with much different software, with all kinds of licenses. Most of them would be proprietary, closed and / or commercial code. So why devote my time and learning “exclusively” to Open Source?

Without going into detail about the differences between open source software and free software, there are several reasons why FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) interest me.

The first is obviously freedom. Be free to use the software in any context and for any purpose, without being limited by the costs of software acquisition and / or the rules and conditions imposed by the manufacturer (as many said free (as beer) software do). That allows me to, for example, familiarize myself with its features without having to use piracy, or, as a freelancer worker, develop my work based on my technical capacities rather than my financial ones.

Second, the community and collaborative factor. The fact that open source software is built by user and for users, where the main goal is to enhance the software functionality (and not just raise the number of sales), and wherein each enhancement introduced by an individual or company is subsequently shared for the benefit of the whole community, avoiding duplication and “reinventing the wheel”. This is done in part through a lot of volunteer work and constant sharing of knowledge, either by the programmers or users. Thus, together, we all evolve at the same time as the software itself. In addition, everyone can contribute in some way, by producing code, writing and preparing supporting documentation, translating them into other languages or just by reporting bugs.

Finally, the “costs“. The adoption of open source software in enterprises (including the public ones), allow them to focus their investments in training of the human resources and the possible (and desirable) sponsoring of new features that are essential for their workflow, usually for a small portion of the values to spend on the acquisition of commercial software (that usually “forces” the purchase of features that may never be used).

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