Open Operating System Details

An open or open-source operating system is a computer program intended for people to use, modify and share openly. The term "open source," which was first used as a label for a certain approach to software development, refers to the physical part of an application or software that dictates how it should run.

Therefore, an open-source operating system is a program that any programmer can tweak to make it work best for their purpose. On a deeper level, "open source" now refers to a wider set of values known as "the open-source way," which operates in conjunction with the doctrines of open exchange, transparency, collaboration, meritocracy, efficiency, and community involvement.

Real World Example of Open Operating System

There are many open operating systems in use today. More familiar names are Linux, Android, WordPress, Open Office, VLC media player, and Moodle. Linux is considered the best example of these open-source programs from which people can generate new programs.

Android is another favorite open source program that allows developers to create compatible applications to address nearly every need. WordPress is also used worldwide, built with an almost endless variety of compatible, independently created plug-ins.

Significance of Open Operating System

Open operating systems benefit not only programmers but general users as well. Since early programmers created most of the internet on these technologies, especially Linux, everyone who uses it today is reaping the benefits of open-source software.

Each time people send emails, market on social media, chat with friends, or play multiplayer video games, they connect to global computer networks that rely on open-source software to transmit data all the way to their local devices. These computers are involved in "remote computing," which is what the internet is all about.

From hustling online freelancers to massive industrial plants that operate with internet-dependent, high-tech machinery to personal users keeping their relationships alive, the significance of open operating systems is undeniable today.

Open Operating Systems vs. Free Software

Open operating systems and free software have often been used interchangeably in discussions, but this is not a correct practice. While they are technically both software, all free software is open-source, but not all open-source is free.

A more crucial difference lies in their operation. Free software is bound by licensing and restrictions, and its code, while free of cost, cannot be freely shared. On the other hand, open operating systems allow users to execute, modify in part or entirely, and distribute the code as they wish for free.

History of Open Operating Systems

In the old days, computers were purchased with installed operating systems and basic applications for free, including editable source code. But when developers started creating standalone software products, they protected their source code from revealing their "trade secrets" to competitors.

This worked well until customers started feeling boxed in as they became tied to their hardware. The practice soon became technically, financially, and even creatively cumbersome for users, leading to a movement that pushed for the open distribution, sharing, and modifying human-readable source code alongside machine-readable object code.

The rise of open operating systems began in the mid-1980s, during which people regarded open access to source code as an essential freedom. As a result, innovators created licenses that required vendors to make their own innovative contributions to what was then called the free software movement. Later on, a faction focused exclusively on the most useful benefits of openly shared code, or the "open source software," which was later known as the open-source movement.