Hadi Rickit | Builder of Things

The Pros and Cons of Open Source

One of the unfortunate realities of open source software is that the project is only as active as it’s maintainers which, in the case of a sizeable chunk of open source products, are not paid employees. The cornerstone of any succesful open source project, in my opinion, is community.

This is a good example of an issue(sort of like a ticket for those unfamiliar with github) that has been open coming three years. The only reason it hasn’t been merged is the author of the repository has been MIA. The solution is right there, we just don’t have to rights to merge it into the main codebase.

Thankfully this code being open source also means anyone can fork it and build upon what’s already been done independent of the original author. This gives anyone the ability to take ownership of the products they use and steer it into whichever direction they wish.

Some of the world’s most used products not to mention the technologies they’re built upon are open source (think firefox, android, linux) and freely available for anyone to inspect, scrutinize and modify. Microsoft’s not so recent acquisition of github also signals that times are changing and demonstrates how mainstream open source software now is.

Well maintained open source products provide the transparency, support and freedom that simply cannot be matched by proprietary counterparts. The fallacy of security through obscurity has been well demonstrated in multiple domains and holds true in software, keeping code hidden in the name of security is a terrible solution and benefits nobody. Having code accessible to everyone ensures it is secure by design, not to mention transparent.

Tech changes fast but people do not. As levels of tech literacy and awareness rise my view is that open source will become the norm owing to the very natural desire to know what it is you are consuming, applies to software just as it does to food, drink and consumer goods.