Why I Love Open Source Software
From videogames like the popular Dwarf Fortress and Cataclysm Dark Days ahead to Wikipedia’s Mediawiki to sites like WordPress and Audacity. Open source software is an amazing thing that doesn’t translate to bad workmanship or shifty developers that will eventually lock the work behind a paywall.
Examples of Open Source Software
I personally enjoy high-quality open source software, notably for the two videogame examples above, but also because of the trust, freedom, and ease of access, it gives the users. For those who don’t know, open source software is any program on a computer that has its source code available for public use.
Take Wikipedia for example, the open source MediaWiki can allow users who download it to make their own wikis. They are using every function and code that the original Wikipedia uses but can make it all their own.
This allows for crowd support from users who enjoy using the software, and often large communities rise up around the projects. Since most open source software is easy to modify and use for your own, if something like MediaWiki doesn’t have a feature that I want, I can delve into the code and create it myself.
Open source software doesn’t ever go away, and most community members take up the mantle of developers when the original users decide to leave the project or have their time taken by something else.
In addition, the community of open source software is amazing, allowing for people to volunteer their coding services and freely create other versions, modifications, and even some things that a developer never intended to do. Going back to the popular Dwarf Fortress as an example, the videogame allows the player to build an entire fortress of dwarves.
However, some modders have rebuilt the game from the ground up and have allowed players to build fortresses as humans, elves, goblins, and other new species with their own unique buildings, items, and events.What was once a game about one race has blossomed into a game about several.
Open source software thrives on freedom, transparency, and most importantly the community around the software. The developers of the software don’t hide behind paywalls or fade into anonymity when tough questions about their product get asked, instead, they defend themselves and allow the public to remake the software.
Security holes and bugs are often fixed quickly because of the vocal community, further increasing the high quality of open source software, and due to this back and forth, ideas and features that are supported by the community are all given an equal chance to shine.
I love open source software, not just because it’s free for everyone, but because of the reasons why it is free. Basic concepts like transparency, trust, and working as volunteers are promoted by the people in charge and then trickle down to the community.
This allows everyone to build something greater than themselves and then tweak it to their liking, and I really enjoy being able to do that. Especially for my video games!
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