Home > Blogs > Why Open Source Matters: Musings from All Things Open 2014

A few months back I wrote a post titled "Why Open Source Matters: Musings from OSCON 2014". The post covered five reasons why Open Source matters. Those reasons were/are:


  1. Code, Glitches and Open Source Security
  2. Open Source Software
  3. GitHub
  4. The Stringent Control of Proprietary Software
  5. The Endless Ability to Test, Play and Alter

While those reasons still ring true, I want to use this space to center in on another topic speaking to why Open Source and OSS matters more than ever: project management and time constraints.



Open Source and Open Source Software (OSS) are great for many reasons yet as Ms. Jessica Dodson smartly noted in my previous, "Why Open Source Matters" piece:



"Open source can save a lot of time on big development projects. You can use pre-built components instead of custom coding everything, keeping the project moving even if things are constantly changing."

Of all the benefits Open Source Software and the Open Source Initiative (OSI) has brought the programming world, one of the largest benefits must be time management and pre-built components. The overriding truth of the software development and mobile application market is that there is never enough time. Development teams everywhere are constantly under siege to produce working, tested and powerful applications ahead of deadline. Dev teams everywhere, regardless of product, are constantly working to hit deadlines, to keep track with the market and more importantly, to beat out competition. With the pace of tech market, time management matters now more than ever. This is where Open Source and OSS comes into play.

As previously noted, "Open source can save a lot of time on big development projects. You can use pre-built components instead of custom coding everything, keeping the project moving even if things are constantly changing." The development, application and availability of "pre-built components" is truly a game changer for every dev. Instead of having to write brand spanking new code for every aspect of a project, developers can utilize an ever expanding library of "pre-built components" applying them in a drag and drop fashion. Building new code not only means the time it takes to write the code, it also means the time it takes to test the code and the time it takes to test the code to ensure working application with the overall development project. While "pre-built components" still require through testing and checking, it simplifies the process allowing developers to move faster, build smoother and create cleaner.

On February 15, 1676, Issac Newton sent a letter to the English natural philosopher Robert Hooke. The letter contained a phrase lifted from Bernard of Chartres by John of Salisbury. The modern version of that phrase: "If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants". This applies to "pre-built components" enabled by OSS. By having access to pre-built code, developers have access to a library of tools which they themselves might not have be able to write. This allows for stronger overall applications and higher education levels within working training. "Pre-built components" and access to forking source codes means developers, by standing on the shoulders of giants, become stronger and more well educated at their craft.

All of this plays into time management. Never have I known a development team to not have their back against the wall in a race against time. Cranking out clean working code requires a constant uphill battle against the ticking clock. "Pre-built components" eases this uphill battle by lightening the boulder a bit.





Speaking to education, if you are looking for some of the best Open Source learning materials, feel free to check out the InformIT Open Source Resource Center. The resource center holds a wide variety of Open Source learning materials marketed at reduced cost. Great titles like "Sams Teach Yourself Python Programming for Raspberry Pi", "The Official Ubuntu Book, 8th Edition", "Effective Ruby", "Node.js, MongoDB, and AngularJS Web Development" and "Hadoop Fundamentals LiveLessons" are all available. If you are looking to learn and hone your Open Source skills, I recommend taking a look because let's be honest, not all your solutions will come down to "pre-built components".

Access the InformIT Open Source Resource Center.

Lastly, to read the first installment of "Why Open Source Matters" feel free to follow this link, "Why Open Source Matters: Musings from OSCON 2014".

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