Open Source Software Movement

3 10 2010

This week’s topic is open source software (OSS) movement. OSS means basically free online tools which are free to copy, share and develop for the use of all people. With the inspiration of sharing and competitiveness of development, people started being developers of the open source software in their young ages.  In week 5 class, we discussed the advantages and disadvantages of the OSS movement compared to copyrighted software. Let’s talk about the free one first.

OSS movement promotes the use of end online product and the product’s source code.  The first advantage of the OSS movement is being free. 7zip and audacity are some of the free programs we are using at IU.  The second advantage is developing it with the open source. When somebody develops a tool, you as the user can reach to the source code, and improve or change it according to your needs. The other advantage is copying and sharing the program with your friends.

People who are against the OSS movement emphasize some issues in terms of quality and usability. Since there is no professional organization many times behind the end product, nobody is sure about the quality. Research on the OSS shows us that when we compared the products of free and copyrighted tools, there is still a need to improve the quality and time. Also, there is no usability testing process of the free tools. There is a natural usability testing process by the users and these people are changing the product.

There are so many exciting free online tools now like Moodle Learning Management System. However, we still need time for the OSS and need more capable people to participate in it. Internet has been evolving for around 10 years and it is a very fast evolution. I believe in a short time we will have more effective, efficient and enhanced free tools.





One response

17 10 2010

Very well structured post! It identifies very clearly the most outstanding advantages and disadvantages of open source software. As an open source software user, an additional disadvantage that I have experienced in the past is that you are not sure when an already-reported bug will be fixed or a highly-requested feature will be added. In some cases you can even see of the “known bugs” in the waiting list but you’re really depending on the ‘mercy’ and the time of volunteers to tackle the bugs… I guess this issue fits within the “quality” category that your post identifies. Great job!

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