Free/Open Source Software

open sourceFree/Open Source Software(F/OSS) is a computer software that is also available in source code form which anyone can run, copy, distribute, study, change and improve the software, with some restriction imposed by the software license. This means, in other words, that the freedom is not only as in beer, but also as in free speech.

The growth of OSS has taken off in the last two decades, with the development of GNU/Linux operating system, but also with projects that are used worldwide and have a huge number of users, like for example Mozilla Firefox browser. The roots of OSS are tracked a decade earlier, in the 80s, with the creating of the GNU Project[1] by Richard Stallman.

A special breed of Open Source Software is the software that powers business. At first, letting the competition have access to the inner workings of the crucial software for a company was considered a disadvantage, but with the adoption of projects like Apache Web Server, this mentality has changed. I see that more and more companies are implementing Open Source and using in their core services. PHP, Perl, OpenStack cloud computing software, Linux OS, Apache and others more have won their way from the geek’s basement to the manager’s office.

The motor that powers this development of an Open Source project is the community, started in the beginning by enthusiasts, but now more than ever, composed also by paid developers, as companies discover the importance of F/OSS. Projects gather momentum, companies are giving back to the community and actively get involved in the development process, the quality and usability of the software increases.

Being a quintessential Internet company, 1&1 has always been an active supporter of Open Source Software. I am a developer for the Sip Router Project[2], a common development framework for projects related to SIP Express Router (SER). One project that joined this initiative is Kamailio[3]. Kamailio is a high performance SIP proxy, and thus can handle the signaling part of a VoIP network. The original SER project approaches a decade of continuous development and improvement, proving the reliability and stability of Open Source, even in a world like telephony, where inertia comes before innovation. I will talk more about Kamailio/SER in future posts.

Some other projects we are presently working on here in Bucharest, are Qooxdoo and Pustefix. Qooxdoo is a comprehensive and innovative framework for creating desktop-style web applications, often called rich internet applications. This reduces the complexity of web applications, and so minimizes time to market. 1&1 has initiated the project in 2004 and soon after released it under a LGPL licence. You can find out more on the official Qooxdoo site [4]. Pustefix([5]) is another framework for creating modular web applications, implementing the Model-View-Controller architecture and written in Java. These two projects described above, along with a third one, XP Framework for PHP [6], have started originally as internal projects in 1&1 but, at the point of reaching maturity, they were released as Open Source, steadily building a community around them.

In an ever-changing environment, F/OSS is getting to be used more and more, proving to be a real asset for professionals and businesses.

[1] [2] [3] [4] [5]

Category: Technology & Development
6 comments6

Your comment

  1. September 5, 2011 at 08:27 | by Tiberiu C. Turbureanu


    2 thumbs up for 1and1 support of F/OSS!

    In the introduction I would say that some *conditions* (instead of restrictions, which usually refer to freedom limitation) apply to Free Software (like crediting the authors or distributing the modified product under a compatible license).

    The free (from Free Software) in *not* as in free beer (beer for free, price and rights are orthogonal terms), but as in free speech or freedom, as stated in the Free Software Definition —

    Finally, please use web links instead of bottom references.

    Thanks, great article!


  2. October 10, 2011 at 08:34 | by campi

    Draga Marius Z., `F/OSS` e de fapt `FLOSS`. Te las sa descoperi singur de la ce vine L-ul.

    1. October 10, 2011 at 12:37 | by Marius Z

      Hello Campi,

      Ma bucur pt interesul tau in Free / Open Source, FOSS, FLOSS. Pana la urma, consider ca este mult mai importat a intelege si sustine F/OSS decat un nume. “Libre” si deci FLOSS sunt termeni mai europeni, tocmai din dorinta de a diferenta libertatea produsului de costurile sale de achizitie (de multe ori fiind si gratis). Ca si multe din dezbaterile in lumea OSS, sunt parti si parti, Eric S Raymond fiind un opozand al denumirii FLOSS.

      In final, cum spunea si Shakespeare:

      “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
      By any other name would smell as sweet.”