How do you make coffee ? There are many ways. Most of them are known and free for anyone who cares to make a coffee. Basically, the recipe or procedure of coffee making is free and open sourced. Luckily, you don’t have to get special license to make and drink your own coffee !
Now imagine that coffee making was close sourced, that is the original creator chose to keep it a secret. In this case, it might not have become such an insanely popular drink. Even if it had become popular it would be very limited and not very accessible to millions as it is today.
When something is free and open source, people have the access to the recipe or source and are able to add improvisations or sometimes modify the recipe/procedure completely. This might result in some really cool and awesome stuff that the original creator might not have imagined.
Let me share another analogy to drive the point home. Imagine if the cave person who accidentally discovered fire had chosen to keep the process to himself/herself. We would probably still be in jungles. We would be hanging from trees, hunting, and worse twitter would have been non existent. *shudder* . Lucky for us fire making is open source and today fire is being used in ways that obviously our original cave dwelling ancestor might not have even imagined. It has literally changed the world.
Open Source is clearly not a new thing. It has been with us, without a name, for thousands of years. If used properly and in the right places (open sourcing nuclear weapons is clearly a bad idea), it can create more impact and reach more people.
Is open source changing the world ? Yes it is. Is it an answer to all problems, maybe not. But it does solve a lot of problems and in a very interesting way.
In the coming weeks we will explore some popular open source software and how companies (small or big) can benefit from them.