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The Future of Media

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Introduction To Open Source – Open source media means media software with no restrictions There are open source forms of media and closed source forms of media. Open source has been growing more and more rapidly in the past decade as most forms of media we have discussed in class on Friday mornings. With an open source form of media software, programmers share their codes freely in order to be modified and used by others. They are allowed to alter and change software with improved features. For open source programs to be reliable, licensing has to be approved by Open Source Initiative, which is a corporation that certifies shares and promotes open source software.

Where Open Source Came From Open Source began with the Hacker’s society of the United States computer science lab in Stanford MIT in the late 1960’s. It was a collective were members shared their code with other members. This would allow members to use each other’s knowledge to improve their own interest. In the 1980’s the Hackers Society began to fall apart after the members were hired by commercial companies to produce systems that required users to purchase a license in order to use them. Later they left those commercial companies and recreated the hackers’ society. One of the first open source systems was a Unix compatible operating system named GNU by Richard Stallman.

What The Open Source Is Open source is similar to “free software”, but the open-source users are generally able to view and modify the source code, and they are also allowed to redistribute the software. Open Source does not just mean to access the source code; the distribution of open-source software must comply with certain criteria. The License cannot restrict any party from selling or giving away the software. The program must include the source code as well as compiled form. The license must allow modifications. The license must explicitly allow distribution of software built from modified sources code, but may require derived works to carry a different name or version number from the original software. The License must not discriminate against any person or group. The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the program in a specific field of endeavor such as business or genetic research. The rights attached to the program must apply to all whom the program is redistributed, without the need for execution of an additional license by those parties. License must not be specific to a product. License must not restrict other software. License must be technology-neutral. Advantages of Open Source Closed source programs usually have many flaws, while research shows that most commercial software is poorly engineered. With closed source programs they are able to hide security flaws and fundamental flaws. With open source more people are able to see code and users can recognize an error before it leads to a major problem. Since many developers are themselves users of the software, they will probably do their best on producing higher quality software. Smaller businesses and students are able to afford the free open source software. Closed source commercial media software are able to make more money. Open source means that you can sell your product but you cannot prevent others from selling your product. Open-source software update flaws much faster than closed source media. Open source software are improving more and more they are becoming more powerful and popular with time.

IINTRODUCTION TO OPEN-SOURCE

Generally computer software sources (the human readable version of the software) are of two kinds; closed and open. Open-source programming has been prominently growing through the past ten years. In this model, programmers share their codes freely in order to be modified and used by others. They are allowed to alter and change the original software as much as they like. This in turn will produce higher quality software with improved features. For the open-source programs to be reliable, some sort of licenses has been approved by Open Source Initiative (OSI) which is a “non-profit corporation dedicated to managing and promoting the open-source definition for the good of the community, especially through the OSI Certified Open-source softwarecertification mark and program.”

WHERE THE OPEN-SOURCE CAME FROM

Open-source began to form in the hacker’s society of the United States computer science laboratories such as Stanford and MIT in the late 1960’s. Programmers were members of societies in which each member were expected to share his or her code among the society members. This would apply improvements on different codes by members of the society. In addition programmers were able to use each others knowledge in their own interest mutually.

By the early 1980’s the university hacker societies began to collapse, and the hackers were hired by commercial companies producing proprietary systems (systems that required users to purchase a license in order to use them). Later they resigned their jobs and recreated the hacker societies they enjoyed before. One of the first open-source systems was a Unix compatible operating system named GNU by Richard Stallman.

WHAT THE OPEN-SOURCE IS

Open-source software is similar to “free software”, but the open-source users are generally able to view and modify the source code, and they are also allowed to redistribute the software. However open-source does not just mean to access the source code, the distribution of open-source software must comply with the following criteria,
1. The license shall not restrict any party from selling or giving away the software (free redistribution).
2. The program must include the source code as well as compiled form (executable form).
3. The license must allow modifications.
4. The license must explicitly permit distribution of software built from modified source code, but may require derived works to carry a different name or version number from the original software.
5. The license must not discriminate against any person or group.
6. The license must not restrict anyone from making use of the program in a specific field of endeavor such as business or genetic research.
7. The rights attached to the program must apply to all to whom the program is redistributed, without the need for execution of an additional license by those parties (license distribution).
8. License must not be specific to a product.
9. License must not restrict other software.
10. License must be technology-neutral.

ADVANTAGES OF OPEN-SOURCE

One way to study the advantages of open-source is to study the disadvantages of closed-source. Closed-source programs generally have several fundamental flaws. The internals of the closed-source programs are intentionally hidden from users, preventing them to modify the program to suit their own needs. Companies distributing closed-source programs are able to hide security holes and fundamental flaws from the users, whilst research shows that most commercial software is poorly engineered. On the other hand, with open-source, more people see the code and there’s a higher chance that one recognizes any errors, before it leads to a major problem.

During the development of open-source, in most cases, a group of developers grows around the software. This way, the company has to pay less and of course is much closer to the customers. Since many of the developers are themselves users of the software, they will probably do their best on producing higher quality software. In addition, the market of open-source is much wider since not only richer companies, but also students and smaller businesses are able to afford the free open-sourced software.

Although open-source is weaker comparing with proprietary systems regarding money making, there are other different ways of charging people with open-source such as charging for installation and support, or selling other related products with better facilities while still providing people with free ones (this way they are more likely to purchase the products). The fact is that open-source does not mean you can not sell your product, but it means that you can’t prevent others from selling the same product. This will put a premium on programs with higher qualities regarding competitive advantage and marketing, which forces producers to work harder in order to stay competitive. In terms of security, research has shown that in open-source often there’s less time between the flaw discovery and a patch to fix comparing to closed-source. This is generally because there are more people seeing the code which increases the chance for any errors or flaws to be found sooner. In addition, there’s an argument between open-source and closed-source advocates. Closed-source advocates argue that since there is nobody responsible for open-source software, there is no incentive or guarantee that it will be fixed, while open-source advocates argue that since the source code of closed-source software is not available, there is no way to know what security or fundamental issues the software have.

OPEN-SOURCE LICENSE

License and liability is a must for any distributed software. Without a license, there’s no guarantee for the program’s liability, and if there is any flaws, no one will be responsible for that by law. Therefore OSI (Open Source Initiative) is responsible for issuing any needed open-source license. Programs with the OSI license are known to be reliable, secure and conformed to the definition of open-source. This firm has a framework in which any software requiring a license must fit. OSI has a set of already approved licenses which software producers may use if their software fits them; otherwise OSI will issue a new license under which the software could be distributed (if the software is reliable and conformed to the definition of open-source). Programs approved with any of the OSI licenses are required to somehow inform users that their software is OSI Certified. They can either just right “OSI Certified” (text certification mark) or use the graphic certification mark. Using these marks for software that is not distributed under an OSI approved license is prohibited and against law. You can see the OSI graphic certification mark in the picture below.

CONCLUSION

Open-source idea has always been around since the late 1960’s and it has never failed. It’s been growing for ages and now it has become valuable in the world of programming and software production. With open-source not only people are involved in coding and improvement, but the product comes out with higher quality and the ability to better suit people’s needs. With open-source, companies are able to improve their products greatly and they can highly increase their market share. Open-source production is more rapid and therefore saves time. Open-source is getting stronger and there will come a day that proprietary software will lose its value and market among users. The fact that a Linux server (which is open-sourced) is now more popular than a windows server significantly supports this theory. Here are charts for Linux market share and the use of Linux servers in user enterprises extracted from “Why open-source software/free software (OSS/FS, FLOSS, or FOSS)? Look at the numbers!” by David A. Wheeler:

Operating System Market Share Composition
GNU/Linux 28.5% GNU/Linux
Windows 24.4% All Windows combined (including 95, 98, NT)
Sun 17.7% Sun Solaris or SunOS
BSD 15.0% BSD Family (FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, BSDI, ...)
IRIX 5.3% SGI IRIX
Linux Market Share

System 2002 2001
Linux server 64.3% 35.5%
Windows 2000 Server 59.9% 37.0%
Windows NT Server 64.3% 74.2%
Commercial Unix server 37.7% 31.2%
Use of Linux servers in user enterprises

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