How many of you are aware that we use Open Source projects daily? Well, WordPress – the CMS system that runs around 43% of websites across the web, VLC, Linux, Firefox, and Android are all open-source! This means that most of the technology we use daily is dependent on open-source.
Before we discuss the topic at hand, let’s find out what open-source is.
- Defining Open Source
- What Makes Open Source Unique
- Open Source Contribution isn’t Free Work
- Popular Open Source Softwares Available Today
- How Does the Community Encourage Contribution
- Why you should contribute to WordPress and other open-source projects.
- 1. The Best Platform to Learn
- 2. Collaborate with the Smartest People
- 3. Gives You a Voice to Shape the Future of WordPress
- 4. You Get Wider Reach of Audience
- 5. Gives You Control
- 6. Great Community Support
- 7. Durable Than You Could Ever Imagine
- 8. Helps You Build and Work With Something Secure
- 9. Work on Your Own Schedule
- 10. Inclusive Open Source Projects
- 11. Boosts Your Portfolio
- Wrapping Up
Defining Open Source
Open Source is software with source code that is publicly available and can be modified by anyone anywhere in the world. This does not mean that it is vulnerable to malicious threats. Open-source though can be accessed by anyone, is quite safe and secure software – WordPress, for instance, is much more secure than its contemporaries.
Open source code is stored in a public repository and shared publicly. This repository is available for anyone to use the code independently or make improvements to the design and functionality of the project.
What Makes Open Source Unique
While the source code is protected in proprietary projects, it is freely available publicly in open-source. This allows accessing it from anywhere in the world and contributing to improvements in the code. Open source is managed by a community of developers unlike closed source and is more flexible, providing the freedom that encourages innovation. The open-source projects can be accessed free of charge. Faster bug fixing and better security are other features, thanks to the community.
Open Source Contribution isn’t Free Work
Many developers still consider open source contributions as free work and that’s one of the biggest reasons why they are hesitant to be a contributor. The truth is – when you give more, you get more. Open source contribution should be considered as a long-term learning process. The time you invest in open source projects will probably be the best investment in your career.
Popular Open Source Softwares Available Today
Other than WordPress which is the market leader, here are some of the open-source software that we use almost every day.
- Android – The operating system that most mobile phones run on, is the most relatable and frequently used open source software available today.
- VLC Media Player – We often use this open source software to play video, audio and media files.
- Mozilla Firefox – This customisable internet browser is a free open source software.
- Linux – Commonly used on Android devices and desktops, Linux is one of the most user-friendly open source software in the market.
- LibreOffice – LibreOffice is an office suite which is absolutely free to use. The software offers documents, presentations, databases and spreadsheets that can be used for your personal or business use.
- PHP – A software development language used for creating websites and other digital platforms, PHP is one of the best open source software out there.
- Python – One of the most popular scripting and programming languages available, Python is an open source software.
How Does the Community Encourage Contribution
Over the years, the open-source community has and continues to conduct events for the community’s contributors. These events happen almost every month, are organized by various organizations, and have been creating an excellent platform for contributors. Some of the events include Hacktoberfest, which occurs in October every year; #Contribute2WP, a two-day contribution event; Five for the Future that encourages organizations to contribute five percent of their resources to WordPress development; Ohio LinuxFest, another annual event, FOSSASIA Summit, and DevOps Summit among a long list of other events. These events are held to enable contributors to participate in them and contribute further to the community.
Why you should contribute to WordPress and other open-source projects.
Now let’s see why you should contribute to WordPress and other open-source projects.
1. The Best Platform to Learn
You don’t really have to be a developer to contribute to WordPress or other open-source projects. All you need is an interest to learn and open source is the right platform for that. You will get real-world development experience and would be connected to encouraging and helpful people who would guide you through. You can gain exposure, test your skills and acquire knowledge from the platform. Eventually, you will be able to create quality codes that could help people all around the world.
2. Collaborate with the Smartest People
Open Source is a great platform to collaborate with developers from all spheres. Different people from various parts of the world can contribute to the Open Source project and you could work with them, learn from them and improvise. While a closed source project allows you only to work with a few people, open source helps you collaborate with the smartest of people in the tech world. Diverse collaboration could in fact improve a developer’s project beyond expectations.
Some of the top developers in the world are at your disposal! They review your code and guide you in order to make it better and secure. Imagine the immense learning you get out of it! It will eventually help you become one of the best in the industry as well. You will never get this level of exposure or opportunity in a proprietary project.
3. Gives You a Voice to Shape the Future of WordPress
Being an active member of the WordPress community comes with many benefits. It helps you have a voice of your own. Every new decision – be it about discussing a new user interface, defining style guides, or planning the next big event – is made by the community, and being active means you get to share your opinions.
4. You Get Wider Reach of Audience
Open-source projects always thrived because of their ability to reach a wider audience. You get to work with people from all corners of the world and a large portion of them use your code.
This allows you to gain a wider audience, and you must always remember that this is possible only because you are using open source!
5. Gives You Control
For open-source projects like WordPress, you get full control over it. You can easily examine the code and ensure that it works as per your wish and can also modify the parts that you don’t like. Even non-developers can benefit from open source, as they can use it for any purpose they wish to, unlike closed source projects where it works only the way someone else wanted it to.
6. Great Community Support
As mentioned before, open-source projects like WordPress have great community support. WordPress is what it is today because of the strong community support. Many people, over the years, have given enough support and suggested new ideas to improve it, and that is the best thing about open source. If you are a newbie, the immense support from the community helps in the betterment of your project and you could, as a developer, create a much bigger project eventually.
7. Durable Than You Could Ever Imagine
Open-source projects are here to stay. They have no expiry dates as people are constantly working on them and improving them. It never goes outdated either, all thanks to the community.
8. Helps You Build and Work With Something Secure
Open-source projects are more secure than you could ever imagine. One of the main reasons is that anyone can access them and make changes and omissions in order to make it run safe and secure. In fact, anyone can update, upgrade and make modifications to the project which the original developer would have missed and make it a better project to use. This may not be the case with proprietary projects.
9. Work on Your Own Schedule
One of the major benefits of contributing to open source projects is that you can work on your own schedule. Unlike proprietary software where you need to wait for the publishing organization’s time schedule to fix a bug or make a change, in an open-source environment, you can work at your convenience.
10. Inclusive Open Source Projects
One of the best things about open source projects is that they can be used by anyone. Most of these are free to use, so there is no fear of not being able to afford a project. WordPress, one of the most popular open-source platforms, is open for all and is easy to use as well.
11. Boosts Your Portfolio
Open-source contributors are widely recognized and respected. You can be anyone – a web developer, tester, translator, or designer – as long as you contribute to open source projects, you gain certain credibility in the industry. This could highly boost your confidence as well as your portfolio. As long as you have the passion and interest to know more about the vast field, you will certainly become an excellent contributor. Anywhere you go, your portfolio would speak for itself and that is a great advantage.
Also read: The Top Ways to Make a Living with WordPress
An open-source project like WordPress is a great platform for anyone to contribute, collaborate and effortlessly work in building excellent projects. It is a great source to learn, interact and also improve your skills. If you decide to contribute to an open-source project, you are only going to benefit from it.