Hello Collaboration!

Open Source is Great!
September 20, 2008, 3:02 am
Filed under: Collaborative Technologies Course | Tags: , , ,

Open source software, which I’ll refer to as OSS, provides great opportunities for developers and end users. My initial understanding of OSS is that it is software developed to contribute to the common good of technology, so it is free of patent. The initial objective of this type of software is to provide a technology base for developers to look at, learn, pick apart and improve upon. Check out this article from USA Today On-line for a pretty thorough summary: great open source summary. The technical meaning of OSS is that the computer source code behind the program is visible to everyone that views the software, not just the originators. This can help developers learn and improve technology faster. The really nice thing for people like me, a non-programmer, is that the OS software is generally free for the public to use. The low/no cost aspect, along with their creative nature makes OSS especially great for providing resources for small business solutions OR for small problems in a big business.

Last semester, in my MHRM coursework, I took an HRIS course. In this course we did our fair share of end user sampling of many open source softwares.  We used them free of charge to create solutions for organizational problems. One of OSS(s) that we used was a software for building a “wiki.” We also sampled some collaborative and media editing softwares. The possibilities are seemingly endless when it comes to OSS because developers want to get their software noticed, critiqued and used by professionals and end users alike.

As noted in a Helium magazine article, a negative associated with OSS is that a lot of the programs are not necessarily at their peak of end-user friendliness as are competitive patented products. In addition, they are not always compatible with other patented software…so integrating them into daily work can be challenging. For programmers, it could become frustrating to work strictly with open source projects because they are so “public” and therefore not as competitive as patenting.

Regardless, everyone should try a few out and decide for themselves. Check out the Wikipedia list of available OSS arranged by functional category.

Check out this video of a casual conversation about Intel’s open source strategies.