If you already don’t know, open source software is software with a source code that anyone can inspect, modify, and improve. Programmers use the source code to manipulate how the software, such as an application or program, works. Chances are high that your business uses open source software (OSS) to a specific capacity.
Unlike other software types, OSS developers make the source code available to other interested parties who want to view it, copy, learn from it, or share it. Some good examples of OSS include GNU Image Manipulation and LibreOffice.
Why People Prefer Using Open Source Software
Most people prefer using OSS to proprietary software for several reasons, including:
With OSS, you have more control as you can view the code, ensure it’s working correctly, and change the sections you don’t like. Non-programmers can also benefit from this software as they can use it for any reason they wish and not what others think they should.
Open source software also helps you become a better programmer. Since its code is accessible publicly, students can use it as a learning tool to make better software. They can also share their work with peers and other programmers, inviting critique and comments as they improve their skills. When they find mistakes in the source code, they can call them out and help others avoid similar mistakes in the future.
Some prefer OSS as it’s more stable and secure than proprietary software. Since anyone can access and modify OSS, someone can identify and correct omissions or errors the original developer might have missed. And because many programmers can easily access and work on an OSS, they can fix, update, and upgrade the software more quickly.
Open source software includes a community of developers and users around it. In such a case, the community is not only a fan base buying in financially or emotionally to an elite user group. The community developing, testing, using, and promoting the software eventually affects the OSS they love.
Why OSS Policies are a Must to Prevent Legal Risk
While its benefits are numerous, it’s also evident that open source software can pose significant legal risks that must be addressed. Some of the key issues include:
Tainting- Using OSS can affect proprietary software, including the potential need to make the source code for the software available to others.
OSS concerns with SaaS- Cloud-based deployments could impact distribution, lulling developers into a false sense of security that there are no OSS inferences with these deployments.
New Use Cases: OSS could later be packaged and distributed or be used to run an online service for third parties. Such a change can trigger different legal obligations depending on the license terms.
Patent Issues with Open Source Licenses- Major patent issues can crop up with OSS licenses, including patent infringement claims.
Assumption of legal obligations
Why the State should not Regulate Open Source Software
In most countries, software companies usually pay kickbacks to the politicians buying their software. Typically, free—software projects don’t pay enough bribes.
They’re not programmers
The people and staff running the government don’t know about Open Source because they’re not programmers. A few have heard about Linux, but that’s just about it! In addition, there’s no support staff responsible for fixing things when they break. Microsoft and similar large firms provide dedicated support staff to people and clients like the government.
Change risks failures, and failure is punished unreasonably to success in governmental bureaucracies. Governments tend to follow the set protocols instead of the core goals and activities.
Politicians, especially in the developed world, are largely influenced by tech and other service-sector enterprises. These politicians focus more on creating opportunities for these businesses to sell their own technologies. There are many examples of governments favoring open source in most developing countries.
According to Richard Stallman,
“As society becomes more dependent on computers, the software is crucial to securing a free society's future. Free software gives us control over the technology we use in businesses, schools, and homes where the computers work for our communal and individual benefit, not for governments or proprietary software companies who might monitor or restrict us.”