Open Source 101: An Introduction to the World of Open Source Software.


5 min read

Are you curious about the world of open source but not sure where to start? Look no further!

In this post, I’ll dive into the basics of open source, including what open source is, why it matters and how you can get involved. Whether you’re a seasoned developer or just starting out in the tech industry, understanding open source and its impact on society is essential.

So let’s jump in and explore together!

What is Open Source?

Open source is a term that originally referred to open source software (OSS). It is software with source code that anyone can inspect, modify, and enhance.

“Source code” is the part of software that most computer users don’t ever see; it’s the code computer programmers can manipulate to change how a piece of software(program) or (application) works.

Programmers who have access to a computer program’s source code can improve that program by adding features to it or fixing parts that don’t always work correctly. Open source software is usually developed as a public collaboration and made freely available.

The term “open source” refers to something people can modify and share because its design is publicly accessible. The term emerged from the context of software development to describe a particular method of creating computer programs.

Today, however, “open source” designates a broader set of values — what we call “the open source way.” For example, the open source way includes free redistribution (which means you can give or sell copies of the program to others), access to the design or blueprint (known as “source code”), and permission to improve upon and redistribute improvements (in modified or unmodified form).

The History of Open Source.

The term “open source” was coined at a strategy session held on February 3, 1998. The group that gathered, which included representatives from various companies and organizations such as Netscape, Cygnus Solutions, and Red Hat, Inc., sought to promote a more cooperative development model for software. They wanted to make it easier for programmers to share code and collaborate on software projects.

The Open source movement was born out of the belief that the power of cooperation can make software better. When programmers share code, they can build on each other’s work and create something more powerful than any one of them could have created alone. This is the principle that drives Open source development.

Open source software is built by a community of developers who work together to create better code. Anyone can contribute to an Open source project, and many projects are managed by dedicated teams of volunteers. Open source software is usually released under a license that allows anyone to use, modify, and distribute the code.

There are many benefits to using Open source software. One benefit is that you have access to the source code, which means you can customize the software to meet your needs. Open source software is also usually free to download and use. And because it is developed by a community of developers, there is typically a large pool of users who can offer support or help improve the code.

The Different Types of Open Source Licenses

There are different types of Open source licenses, each with their own conditions and requirements. The most popular and widely used Open source license is the GNU General Public License (GPL), which is a copyleft license that requires all derivative works to be licensed under the same terms. Other popular licenses include the MIT License, which is a permissive license that allows for easy modification and redistribution, and the Apache License, which is also a permissive license but has some additional requirements.

How to Get Involved in The World of Open Source Development

The world of open source is vast and filled with opportunity. There are many ways to get involved in open source, and no single path is right for everyone. Here are a few general tips to get you started:

  1. Find a project that interests you: There are literally thousands of open source projects out there, so finding one that piques your interest is essential. You can search for projects on GitHub or SourceForge, or look for a list of popular open source projects.

  2. Get involved in the community: Once you’ve found a project that interests you, the next step is to get involved in the community surrounding that project.

    Most Open source projects have some kind of online forum or mailing list where developers and users interact. This is a great place to ask questions, learn about new features, and find out how you can help contribute.

  3. Start contributing code: One of the best ways to get involved in an Open source project is to start contributing code. This can be as simple as fixing a bug or adding a new feature. If you’re not sure where to start, many projects have lists of “easy” issues that are perfect for newcomers.

  4. Help document and test the software: In addition to writing code, another great way to contribute is to help document and test the software. This helps ensure that the software is high quality and easy to use for everyone involved.

  5. Spread the word about the project!


Open source is an incredibly powerful tool to help us create better, more innovative technologies. It can be intimidating at first, but with some research and dedication anyone can get involved in the open source world. There are countless projects available to contribute to or develop your own!

With the right guidance and resources, you can make a real impact on the world of open source and have a direct effect on our digital future. I hope you found this post informative. Remember to like it, comment and share it with others. Thanks for reading ☺.