Open-Source Codes: What Are They and Why Should You Care?

Everything you use on your computer, phone, tablet, or any other device with an OS, is created with the help of a programming language. It means a developer or an entire team of developers had to code the functionality of every piece of software. 

However, different software development companies have varying views on code ownership. For example, some keep their code a secret, meaning every worker is required to sign an NDA and not reveal it to anyone. 

On the other end of this, you will find an open-source. This kind of software allows anyone to take a peek at the code a company uses. Moreover, coders can also make changes to the software and suggest it to open-source companies.

Now, you might be thinking — why would anyone reveal all their work for free? Well, there are many benefits of providing open-source programs. However, we should mention the disadvantages as well.

Pros and Cons of Open Source

Let’s give a quick overview of the advantages and disadvantages of open-source programs.

Pros:

  • Anyone can access the code and alter it — This means that open-source companies can upgrade their software with the help of independent coders, usually for free.
  • Open source is cheaper — Programmers can sometimes copy the source code from another open-source piece of software and kickstart their own program without having to write it from scratch.
  • There’s an active community — Open-source programs usually have entire communities of tech-savvy individuals managed by experienced developers and programmers.
  • It encourages innovation — Open-source software allows flexibility and freedom with code. When many brilliant minds work on it together, they can do wonders.

Cons:

  • There is a lack of high-quality support — While proprietary software vendors can offer top-notch support, that’s often difficult for the ever-changing open-source programs, as there are usually no written manuals for using the software.
  • It may slow down over time — Since many people contribute to open-source software, there’s an increased chance of it becoming unstable in the long run, which would require more money to fix.  
  • It could be difficult for newcomers — Unlike proprietary software, which is usually packed in such a way to appeal to inexperienced and experienced users alike, open source is often difficult for non-technical users to comprehend.  

Do Big Corporations Have Open Source?

Many big corporations are highly centralised and thrive on the fact that they use legally protected software. One such example is Apple, which offers outstanding products — however, most of what’s coded in-house remains unknown to the outside world. Unfortunately, such an approach is often considered greedy. 

Even though open source might have some disadvantages, it does more good than harm overall.

Open Source and Crypto: A Good Combination?

The philosophy behind cryptocurrencies and blockchain is similar to the idea behind open source. However, the goal is to give power to a decentralised community rather than keeping it centralised to a handful of individuals within a closed organisation.

That’s why many crypto-based projects are also open source. Some of them, such as t3rn, have decided to take this to the next level by contributing to the open-source philosophy. For example, T3rn offers an open-source repository for smart contracts, meaning coders can put their contracts here and get reimbursed whenever their code is used.   

Final Thoughts

The concept of open-source codes has brought many great and innovative products and services to the world. In fact, the entire philosophy has sparked many people to think in that direction, and it’s safe to say that it has influenced the creation of cryptocurrencies in a way. 

Overall, proprietary software is still popular, but open-source software is likely to become the dominant approach in the future.