27.11.2014

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Open Source for developers

The open source development community provides more than just open source software. Developers who contribute their time to working on open source projects often find that it benefits their programming skills, their communicative abilities and even possibly their social lives.

Open source projects tend to spring up where there is a need for new software or at least differently-licensed software. The developers and some potential users can collaborate within a distributed environment, like the Internet, to satisfy that need, and perhaps even start to anticipate and cater for emerging needs. Whether a community develops around a piece of software, or a pre-existent community decides it needs a new piece of software, the combination of a purposeful social group and a rapid cycle of release and comment often seems to result in the production of good code.


Open source software development methodology

Developing software using an open source development methodology can be a quite different experience to developing in a closed source model. However, developers with a closed source background may be surprised at the points of similarity as well as difference. These resources explore the background to the open source software world and the way that it works.

Legal issues

Like any creative professional, a developer needs to understand their intellectual property rights. The code you write may belong to you, your employer or even your college or university. Understanding your responsibilities and rights may seem irrelevant to the core business of getting developing, but unless you take the time to understand these matters then the re-use of code can quickly result in software that cannot be legally released and a lot of wasted effort.

Policy issues

Open source software has relevance to public policy in two distinct areas. Perhaps most obviously it can provide an alternative to the products of proprietary vendors when public bodies look to buy in software. Open source licensing can also be an effective way of making software that has been written by public bodies (with public money) available to the wider community, where it may be taken up and adapted for greater public benefit.

Technical issues

Once the legal and policy issues are out of the way, developers usually want to get on with the matter in hand - developing software. Clearly developers need to be well versed in technical matters. Here we link to some more technical resources that may be of interest to those who develop software.

source: www.oss-watch.ac.uk