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Open Source

What is Open Source?

Some programmers and companies choose to make source code for a computer program available online, so that other people can inspect, modify and use it for free. This is often called Open Source or "FLOSS" (Free/Libre Open Source Software).

Open source comes with a licence which stipulates the freedoms and usufruct rights that come with the software. GNU General Public Licences (GPL) are the most widely used type of open source licence, but there are many other licences with minor variations as regards usufruct rights. Many software companies create their own custom open licences.

Open source refers to software that is distributed subject to the condition that the source code will be made available to users. This means that users gain access to how the software works, and can consequently correct bugs and make improvements.

A user could be a company, a private individual or paid software developers who can customise the software for their own use. The enhanced software can then be shared back to the general public, as the principle of open source is that fixes and improvements should be returned to the community (the "ecosystem") and be made available to all users. This is a method which enables applications distributed as open source to reach a high level of quality, for the benefit of all.

Other potential benefits of open source include lower software costs, greater security and stability, protection of privacy, and the fact that users have more freedom to control the hardware compared to a situation where you have purchased an application.

Open source software and codes have a major impact on the global community and have helped users who do not have the money to purchase commercial versions of software, which usually come at a high price or require expensive membership.

Examples of large, successful projects based on open source are the Linux operating system, Apache Web Server, browsers such as Firefox, the WordPress content management system (CMS), and the MySQL relational database.

Many of the most relevant companies in the world use open source to take advantage of community-driven development; some examples are: Facebook, Spotify and Netflix.

The Java programming language is also built on open source, except for a small part of the code for which Sun did not have the copyright.

Cegal and Open Source

Cegal has stepped up its investment in open source technology over the years. It has done this not only to promote the use of such components, but also to contribute code to super-relevant projects such as Kafka, Trino, Airlift, Hashicorp Nomad, etc.

Watch a video from Kafka Summit Europe 2021 >

Read our blog: Our Java Open Source Contributions to Presto & Airlift >

Want to talk Open Source with one of our experts?