|By Lacey Thoms||
|February 23, 2015 08:30 AM EST||
With many organizations incorporating open source code into their software, business managers should have a basic understanding of what open source is all about. After all, Gartner and Accenture report open source adoption rates nearing 100% so it’s likely that your development team is already incorporating open source code into their projects.
So, what is open source? When a developer chooses to make his or her project open source, it gives third party developers the right to tinker and innovate with it. Check out this comprehensive video for an in depth explanation.
Developers incorporate open source into their projects to accelerate development time, thus reducing costs for the organization overall. Most of the time, the code is open to the public; but it is imperative that collaborators refer to a set of chief regulations and terms involved in open source software license management and dispersal.
Here is a brief rundown of some basic terminology:
- The License: As aforementioned, open source code is free for the public to use and change however seen fit, but it must adhere to the original set of rules, or license, of which it was initially founded. In other words, the license of the original code sets the ground rules for future changes.
- Branch v. Fork: Anyone may add his or her own features to the original code and in doing so, request the maintainer (the original code creator) to integrate said changes. The maintainer can either accept or deny these changes resulting in a branch or a fork.
- Upstreaming: If the maintainer consents to the branch, the creator of the change (or the patch) is then dubbed a contributor. In this scenario, the maintainer is then responsible for updating the original code with the patch. Upstreaming is important in open source coding because it allows the community to test the new code in a multitude of configurations.
- Collaboration: This term is not necessarily part of open source code jargon; it is more a central aspect in development. By adhering to terms delegated in the license, members of the community can then patch the code or create a fork. Either way, it is up to the maintainer to decide when to upstream or let a developer stray away from the code’s origin.
There you have it, open source boiled down. Still unsure of how this applies to your business? Take some time to learn more about open source software license management.
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