Has Open Source Changed Software Development?

If you’re in API development, you’re an app developer or you work in IT in general, you’re probably familiar with open source. Unless you were in your field about two decades ago, you may not fully appreciate how open source has changed software development over the past 20 years, however.

If you’re curious about the influence open source has had on the creation of software, you’re probably better off investigating whether open source has been instrumental in making the changes that were predicted 20 years ago. Why? Because your investigation would consume very little time.

Since the Open Source Initiative was founded, open source has not changed application software as it was expected to. Two decades ago, many experts thought open source would change everything related to application software, including back end development, distribution and means of sale. To date, open source has fallen short of those lofty expectations.

What Has Open Source Changed?

Just because it hasn’t influenced application software development that way it was “supposed” to, it doesn’t mean that open source hasn’t left its mark in other areas. If you’re a backend developer, you’ve probably noticed that open source has left an indelible mark on enterprise infrastructure software over the years.

Five years ago, Mike Olson, a cofounder of Cloudera, claimed that open source was the dominant force in enterprise infrastructure. Since Olson made this observation in 2013, enterprise infrastructure has been ruled by open source license more and more. While open source hasn’t completely infiltrated enterprise infrastructure yet, it’s covering significant ground in the field. Today, even machine learning and artificial intelligence are being driven by open source thanks to TensorFlow, MXNet and other open source libraries and tools.

Although it’s confounding that many platforms are open source while much of software and app development is closed and proprietary, open source has managed to change application software development in one key manner during the past 20 years. More specifically, open source has changed the discussion of software development.

Thanks to forward-thinking Internet behemoths like Google, Facebook and Amazon that are actively showing off the value of open source, other organizations are growing increasingly comfortable with the notion that application software can be open source. They’re also increasingly comfy with the idea that application software should be open source…perhaps.

Open Source vs. Closed Source

There is an important distinction to be made.  Our article is geared toward using pieces of open sourced software for the benefit to be used in closed source software.

Closed source software is more secure and is properietary for your company – And a key speciality of Source and a big reason why companies work with us.  Open sourced software, when used securely for closed software purposes, has a great benefit as it decreases the amount of time to develop lowering your cost.  A win win!

What Does the Future Hold?

What does that mean for the future? It means that, so far, open source’s greatest achievement may be having laid the foundation for the changes it has the potential to yield in the next 20 years.

While open source has the very real chance to influence application software more in the years to come, it’s possible that it will always be better positioned to have a more permanent effect on infrastructure software. Why is that the case? Because as you move along the application software development chain, fewer and fewer people will have an interest in the software or the ability to work on it.

Regardless of what the future has in store for open source and its influence on infrastructure or application software, we’ll be ready for it. Contact Source Web Solutions, Inc. to learn about our software services now.