The New meaning of Open Source

I believe currently a major reorganization is happening in the software that most people in the tech industry don’t understand. It’s centered around Open Source, or source code that is open, free to use &¬†develop with.

The original meaning of Open Source meant a freely distributed non-proprietary software (synonymous with GPL). Not long after Open Source’s re-birth 2006, the Open Source meaning quickly became exploited as a sales technique by companies like Google, Oracle, &¬†Microsoft to name a few in 2009, resulting in a new meaning of Open Source:

I’ll show you the source, I’ll show you how to use it, but I still own it & make the rules.

The obfuscated meaning of Open Source from something free and openly distributed without reservation is now, in part, why some in the software industry that are worried by the emerging Open Source market.

The cozy days of a software company colaborating on a software and figuring out how to sell it to a target audience is over.

Open Source has one rule, whatever is best will win. A successful Open Source application doesn’t need a marketing strategy to find users, investors to finance it’s development, or even a specific owner to call his own. A true Open Source application is an organic independent entity freely distributed without reservation or ownership.

Just like in a free market, now people will quickly adopt whatever software will fit their needs for the best value. With Open source, companies are no longer trying to sell their software and jamming it down the throats of consumers. Software companies are competing with software that most acurrately fits the needs of public, software designed by the public.

What does this mean for developers and the tech industry? Software companies will need to spend less time developing their software, instead more time empowering their users to develop strategies that meet user needs, keeping pace user demand. The very minimal a sustainable software can do right now, is create an API for some basic development on it’s software. Software companies that don’t fully implement this strategy with their product will be left vulnerable to companies that do. Here’s a short list of successful software companies & products that dominate in their field.

PayPal – online finance: API

Flickr – photo sharing: API

Facebook – social networking: Development Platform

Twitter – social networking: API

Apple’s iPhone – telecommunications: Development Platform

Google Map – geo navigation: API


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