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“Of the software that powers nthe world s largest companies protects our personal data or or encrypts national nsecurity information is open to the public. Anyone can download the nsource behind facebook s user interface google s android operating system nor even goldman sachs data modeling program and use. It as a nbuilding block for a totally new project. What s more lots of nthis software is actually developed collaboratively created and maintained by nan army of thousands from unpaid volunteers to employees nat competing tech companies as a kid in a small town in nvirginia i could get connected to the best developers anywhere on earth and learn from nthem and even read the code that they d written i really wanted to ngive back and these people were always my heroes so i nwanted to participate too and my voice mattered it was njust immediately.
I was hooked. This is the collaborative world of nopen source software. Where code is written and shared freely if individuals catch a bug or see nan opportunity for improvement. They can suggest changes to the code and thereby nbecome.
A contributor to some of the biggest software nprojects on earth. But this model hasn t nalways been the norm at the dawn of the internet nera through the late 1990s. Proprietary software. Proliferated microsoft even went so far as to ncall open.
Source un american and bad for intellectual property. Rights software was a finite commodity. That people nhoarded and wanted to sell as a product open. Source software was only ndeveloped and maintained by a dedicated few and there was this nfringe world.
There was this academic world who were creating software. According nto their own rules and sharing it publicly and making it free certainly dreamed like wouldn t it be awesome nif. We could sort of take over the world now open source has nessentially taken over the world companies in every industry from walmart nto exxonmobil to verizon have open sourced their projects. Microsoft has completely changed its point of nview and is now seen as a leader in the space and in.
2016 the us. Government even promised to open source at nleast 20 percent of all its new custom developed code. So whether you know it or not you nare relying on the volunteer labor in many cases of thousands of nstrangers from around the world in the 1970s the mit. Artificial intelligence lab had a nprinter that regularly jammed so staff programmer richard stallman altered nits source code.
So that when problems arose. It would send a nmessage to everyone in the lab. Saying discovered its source ncode was inaccessible. He asked for the code got refused ngot.
Upset and ultimately quit his job to develop a completely open operating. Nsystem called gnu in 1983 with this stallman spearheaded the free nsoftware movement from which the open source movement was born it s sort of a very nnatural way to work together collectively. If everybody comes and contributes ntheir piece you end up with something that s a lot greater nthan. Something that an individual could contribute on their own.
But nthroughout. The 1980s and the 1990s. Proprietary software is nstill..
Dominated. And that was a very lucrative. Way nof producing and selling software and created an incentive for large ntechnology companies to create a proprietary de facto standard. It was against this backdrop that nthe open source operating system linux was unceremoniously released in 1991.
It incorporated many elements from stallman s ngnu project. But was mainly used by hobbyists looking for an nalternative to windows or macos throughout the decade. Though linux ngained momentum as large companies took advantage of its flexibility and ntweaked the software to their specific needs by the turn of the ncentury. Nasa dell and ibm were all using it the platform itself nchanges nine times.
An hour ten thousand lines of code are nadded to linux every day about five thousand lines are changed nand about eight thousand lines are removed. It is by far the nhighest velocity. Most effective software development process in the nhistory of computing. As linux grew other open source nprojects were also gaining popularity like the database management system nmysql the perl programming language and the web server apache but for the layperson at the turn nof the century the rise of these technologies could have ngone unnoticed after all hardly anyone ran nlinux on their personal computers.
But then in 2008 google released android ndevices which run on a modified version of linux suddenly the operating nsystem blew up the smartphone market. We are still overwhelmed with nthe amount of. Innovation that is happening in that necosystem of android today there are over 25. Billion active devices using android as google.
Demonstrated businesses were nincreasingly relying upon this complex web of open source technologies nto build products and platforms quickly and whether they knew it or nnot. This also meant that they were depending upon the vast open source ncommunity to maintain this software the ability for one company to nproduce the amount of software. That s required for any modern technology nproduct or service became overwhelming today in a modern luxury nautomobile. There are more lines of software code than in nan f.
15. Fighter jet. There s just simply too much software nto be written for any single organization to write it themselves ninety nine percent of fortune n500 companies use open source every web server is npretty much linux. Most people choose to nuse open source programming.
Languages. It s this like amazing buffet you just come in and take this nthis this this and you slap together something you can build you know namazingly. Powerful products with very little work the sheer increase in nvolume drove a need amongst developers for a central repository. Where they ncould collaborate on these huge projects and in 2008.
Ngithub. Provided an answer what github really did for open source is nit kind of standardized the way that people can contribute to nopen source projects and interface with them and so that any developer anywhere non earth. Knew how to contribute to a project on github and that fed this nexplosion of open source activity. Today github hosts.
The grand majority nof the world s open source software projects and in 2018. Microsoft. Even nacquired github affirming..
The tech giant s commitment to nopen source development. We have about 140 million open source. Nor software projects that are on github and over 50 million of those nhave been added just in the last year. So it s ngrowing.
Incredibly fast and the community has expanded far nbeyond idealistic hobbyists as major companies are increasingly leading nthe charge spearheading. The development of open source nprojects in house. So we see companies like intel ngoogle facebook. Amazon microsoft all contributing heavily to open source googlers nhave been contributing to over 28 thousand projects in 2018.
This number includes projects that google nhas driven as well as contributions. It s made to projects led nby other companies or individuals in the open source world you have nthese fierce commercial rivals who collaborate every day together and they haven t signed anything and it s not just software companies exxonmobil has open sourced nits developer. Toolkit walmart open sourced its cloud management. Nplatform and goldman sachs recently open sourced its ndata modeling.
Program. This open. Source. Way of working nturned out to be better.
Because even in a big tech company. Where nyou might have 20 or 30. Or 50 thousand. Developers.
You can t compete with nthe 40 million developers. That are now on github working non open source every day. Put simply open source development has nbecome the new norm. And so i expect to see nmore and more investment into open source communities and more and more projects nas well as companies finding ways to commercially monetize.
The activity that s ncollected across all of these different open source communities. So how is open source monetized. When nthe product is basically given away for free basically. The answer nlies in selling support services subscriptions and or commercial versions nof.
The software red hat founded in 1993 was the nfirst to figure out a successful business model. Which relies upon nselling support services for its operating system red nhat enterprise linux. Anyone can download the software for nfree. But if businesses want technical support and greater security nthey ll need to buy a subscription after decades of commercial nsuccess ibm officially acquired red hat in 2019 nfor 34 billion dollars.
It was the largest nsoftware acquisition in history it s really groundbreaking and it just nshows. The power and success of open source across the world nacross. The industries while red hat s 100 percent..
Open. Source nmodel has been hard to replicate other companies like database. Program. Nmongodb and integration platform mulesoft rely upon an free.
But add ons and other nuseful elements are proprietary as these companies have racked nup multi billion dollar valuations. There s no doubt that on the enterprise nlevel there s big money in open source. But as for the individual developers. Nthe hobbyists who contribute to and maintain open source projects just for fun ntheir path to profitability is much less clear.
There are a lot nof different models for how people make money in open source. One of the models nis actually they don t a lot of them are volunteers and they ndo this in their free time in the evenings and on the weekends. But sometimes these used critical to the internet infrastructure nthat. We generally take for granted certain projects get so popular nand so widely used that you know they re in every product.
They re used by every company and then nthis result of like you know massive fortune 100. Fortune 500. Ncompanies building their businesses on top of this code. That s written by nhobbyists for who knows what reason right as one might imagine problems ncan arise when critical systems are based on software.
That s maintained nby unpaid volunteers with no professional obligation to see to nthe maintenance of the project. This issue came to a head in n2014. When the security vulnerability. Dubbed heartbleed.
Was found in openssl. Nan. Open. Source.
Encryption. Technology. That s used by the majority of nweb servers to protect user s personal data. The flaw has gone undetected for nabout two years and has exposed millions of usernames passwords and possibly ncredit card info.
As well they left this lock capable of being npicked because they didn t write the code quite right and when they looked into it nthe openssl team was tiny it was just a few people who nwere mostly working on donations and their donations had started to dry up. And understandably these incredibly talented nprogrammers had a hard time justifying spending full time on this even. Though nit was one of the most important building blocks of nthe entire internet ultimately organizations like the linux nfoundation pulled together to provide financial support for openssl as nwell as other critical pieces of underfunded open source software. But the disaster served as a wakeup ncall for an industry that still largely relies upon unpaid labor.
The burden on the maintainer ncan become quite intense you have sort of all these businesses ncoming and saying. Like you know your code is broken. And it s preventing nme from getting my job done and so you get this like almost intense nguilt..
I feel like a lot of maintainers have a guilt now companies are taking note and nhelping to formalize new funding models in 2019. Github rolled out ntheir sponsors program which allows developers to give and receive nrecurring donations for their work. We already have some people who are nmaking their full living on github sponsors. So they don t nhave another job and so that s huge for us.
And that s really the key number that nwe are trying to move up for developers like aboukhadijeh making na full time living around open source is indeed. The dream. I prefer the freedom of being able nto just follow my interests wherever they go and solve whatever nproblems. I think are interesting i ll never make money from some of the nstuff.
I ve worked on. But i think i ve done a lot of good in nthe world by working on it it s still early days. But if funding nmodels like github sponsors pay off we may see a new class nof software engineers eschewing traditional tech jobs in favor of nindependent open source work open source has created so nmuch technological progress. But because it never quite solved.
Nthis funding problem in those early years. I think that we are at a npoint. Now where we could lay the groundwork for the next nstage of open source. This could also mean expanding the ncooperative ethos to industries.
Outside of software as the idea nof. Sharing technology and collaborating collectively expands. We re moving ninto open hardware initiatives. Data.
Sharing initiatives. And that s really ngoing to be the future. After all the success of nopen source. Reveals that collaboration and knowledge sharing are more than njust feel good buzzwords.
They re an effective business strategy. And if we re going to solve some nof. The world s biggest problems. Many believe that we can t afford to nhoard our resources and learnings.
We have environmental concerns. We re trying to understand things nlike cancer and alzheimer s these are major ncollaborative efforts. The complexity of building these technologies nisn t going down. It s only going up we can get that technology nout there faster when everybody works ” .
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