Why now is the time for open source software

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At the end of the 1990s, Linus Torvald launches Linux as a way to democratize source code. Soon after, other companies released their own source code, and from there the radical idea of ​​sharing your software for everyone to use took off like wildfire.

The current term “open source software” (OSS) was coined later in the decade at a conference in Palo Alto, California. There, advocates worked together to create a strategy to pursue this new model of software innovation. The group introduced the term “open source” in an effort to move away from the negative implications of the term “free software” and set a more inclusive tone. Soon after, her subscribers began to grow exponentially.

Today, according to Forrest, more than 50% of Fortune 500 companies use open source software (OSS) for their development projects. As it was from the start, the appeal is the community nature of the software. People love being part of a community and developers are no exception. OSS empowers them to work on the projects that matter most to them and showcase their talents for all to see, enjoy and benefit from.

As programming code created by software developers and offered publicly to anyone who wishes to modify and develop it, the OSS has a clear rule of conduct. If you use it to create a product, you must pay before by also offering this product in open source.

Yet, while most people think OSS is still free, that’s not always the case anymore. Many forms of free software, such as mysql, require you to purchase a license, which includes upgrades and support. For some forms of OSS, purchasing a license is not required, but if you need developer support, you must pay a support services fee. And, more often than not, fees paid to OSS developers are only used to improve the code base.

Part of the appeal of OSS is that it’s everywhere – many of the websites and devices you use every day are based on open source. It is used by Meta (formerly Facebook) through MySQL. Android is based on open source programming language Java, so chances are your phone is built on OSS. Additionally, many popular video games these days are built using Python, another open-source programming language. But the ubiquity of OSS isn’t just in the consumer world; major enterprise applications are based on open source, and applications continue to improve as more innovators apply their know-how to continuously improve them.

Open Source Software in Finance and Payments

In the finance and payments markets, which are competing for a larger share of customers, open source software offers an affordable way to build scalable solutions that give their customers greater flexibility and options. Mobile apps allow customers to perform banking transactions whenever and wherever they want. It also allows retailers to provide all the popular payment platforms that their customers are used to. These apps can be customized to meet the unique needs of particular businesses…and all can be built using the same open source code.

Why consider OSS today

The appeal of OSS is nothing new, and we will continue to see its incredible growth in the years to come for three main reasons: financial uncertainty, growing cybersecurity challenges, and a shortage of technology talent.

There are signs that the United States and many other countries are on the road to recession due to rising inflation, the war in Ukraine and other factors. Businesses are looking for ways to tighten their belts, and leveraging (mostly) free source code is one way to keep digital transformation on track in the most cost-effective way possible.

Why OSS can be more secure than proprietary software

As mentioned earlier, cybersecurity threats continue to plague businesses around the world. Take, for example, the recent SolarWinds cyberattack. Last year, the company performed a routine software update to its network management system which was rolled out to customers. Hackers believed to be run by a Russian intelligence service slipped malicious code into the software and used it as a vehicle for a massive cyberattack on America.

OSS software, which is completely transparent and visible to everyone, can provide a higher level of security because a large number of people can consult it and identify anomalies. In fact, aaccording to a Digitalogy article, Linus Torvalds said, “With enough eyeballs, all insects are superficial.” This means that the more people look at the code and test it, the greater the likelihood of finding issues and uncovering suspicious business.

Additionally, open source fills a great need in an age when software engineers and other tech talent are at a minimum. A 2021-2023 Emerging Technologies Roadmap report from Gartner Inc. noted that 64% of IT leaders cited talent shortages as the most significant barrier to adopting emerging technologies. Companies can get a head start on software development when they use existing source code and customize it to meet their unique needs.

The challenges of open source

Despite its appeal, many developers aren’t into it yet, but that too will change. For software developers looking to achieve their professional goals, having OSS contributions listed on GitHub certainly puts them at the top of the list of candidates, and it quickly becomes essential to any good CV.

OSS, however, is not the answer to every company’s software development needs. Due to the competitive nature of the business, OSS will never supplant proprietary systems. Also, for many businesses, the software they now have works well and is scalable.

Another problem is that, generally, software developers like to write code, but hate to write documentation. Critics of the OSS complain about the lack of documentation on open source software. A lack of documentation increases the time needed to understand and implement the source code.

Despite these and other challenges, Red Hat 2022 State of enterprise open source report found that 77% of IT leaders have a more positive view of enterprise open source than a year ago, and 82% are more likely to select a vendor that contributes to open source.

Since its inception, OSS has embraced collaboration and innovation and may be the answer to the finance and payments industries’ quest for secure and reliable software that helps them compete in a complex and competitive marketplace.

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