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Open Source 101

Armaan Kokan

March 26th, 2023

Open source software has become increasingly popular in recent years, and many developers and users have embraced the concept of accessible and customizable code. Open source software is any software offered under an open-source license, which generally allows users to view, modify, and distribute the source code.

The benefits of open source software are numerous. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the best open source software and open source tools available in computer science.

What is Open Source Software?

Open source software refers to software provided under a specific license that allows users to view, modify, and distribute the source code. This is in contrast to proprietary software, which often restricts access to the source code and requires users to purchase a license to use the software.

Common open source licenses include the GNU General Public License (GPL), the Apache License, and the MIT License. This license gives users the right to modify and distribute the software, and use it for any purpose, including commercial.

Some benefits of Open source software include:

  • Customization: With open source software, users have the ability to modify the source code to suit their specific needs.

  • Cost savings: Open source software is often free or significantly cheaper than proprietary software.

  • Community support: Open source software is often supported by a team of professionals who support the project, providing users with knowledge and support.

  • Security: The open nature of source code allows for transparency and scrutiny, which can improve security.

  • Flexibility: Open source software can be used on a wide range of platforms and devices, giving users greater flexibility.

Best Open Source tools in Computer Science

1. Linux: Linux is a popular open source operating system widely used in server and embedded systems. It is known for its stability, safety, and flexibility.

2. MySQL: MySQL is an open source relational database management system widely used in web applications. Known for speed, reliability, and greatness.

3. Git: Git is an open source version control system widely used by developers to manage source code. It’s known for its speed and flexibility. Git is a version control system that helps you keep track of source code and is different from github. (which is a cloud based host that lets you manage your git repository)

4. PostgreSQL: PostgreSQL is another popular open source relational database management system known for its robustness and reliability.

5. Python: Python is a popular open source programming language widely used in data analysis, machine learning, and web development.

Overall, Open source has become very useful for the industry in many ways. The sheer benefits, portability, and even cost means that more people will be able to build better apps/systems without having to have proprietary software.


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