The phrase “open source” has been in use much longer than you think, popping up as early as Thomas Willis‘ 1685 piece, The London Practice of, Or The Whole Practical Part of Physick, describing in medical terminology how a wound behaves. The modern usage of the phrase is a bit newer and has become the appropriate descriptor for a software product that gives the user permission to add/remove/change its source code, design, or contents.
From casual hobbyist to advanced systems architect, open-source software is used everywhere. According to a 2017 article from Tripwire Magazine, 2 of the top 20 most popular open-source software programs ever are Content Management Systems (CMS) WordPress and Magento, which we covered last year. These two open-source programs account for roughly 65% of websites created on the internet. Rounding out the rest of the Top 5 are a web browser (Mozilla Firefox), a mail client (Mozilla Thunderbird), and an FTP client (FileZilla). Open-source software isn’t just used by programmers or developer anymore.
Open-Source Fosters a Community of Collaboration
The roots of open-source began taking hold in the early 80s with Richard Stallman’s open-source GNU operating system, and becoming an increasingly embraced idea through the 90s when Netscape decided to release their accessible Netscape Communicator suite of software as free, open-source software, turning into programs such as SeaMonkey, Firefox, and Thunderbird. The philosophical pillars of open-source supporters are relatively simple: security, affordability, transparency, perpetuity, interoperability, flexibility, and localization, alongside the suggested models of:
- Treat users as co-developers: end-users should have access to the source code of the software and should be encouraged to submit additions and edits to the software, bug reports and code fixes
- Early Releases: by releasing the first version of the software as early as possible, that piece of software is more likely to find early adopting developers that can contribute to the curation of said software
- Integrate frequently: a shared codebase where changes are merged into eliminates the time sink of addressing a large number of bugs at the end of the project’s life cycle
- Multiple versions: software should exist in two different version states- a more feature robust version that has more bugs, and a more stable version with fewer features with the implicit understanding that using the buggier version acknowledges that the code base is not thoroughly tested. Users can then report bugs and provide bug fixes
- Modularization: modular software structure allows for parallel development on multiple components
- Decision-making structure: Through either a formal or informal method, strategic decisions must be made based upon changing user requirements and other factors
The common perception is that by following this loose model, users of open-source software are given the best opportunity to work together with the end goal of helping support the project.
Open Source We Support
cPanel has been and continues to be, a proponent and supporter of open-source software and collaboration. Between sponsoring, backing, and attending we have supported the following open source project in the last few years alone:
Open Source at WebPros Summit 2019
WebPros Summit 2019 is going to continue the spirit of supporting open-source. This year, we’ve created “Open-Source Alley,” an entire section of the exhibition floor that is occupied by some of the more influential open-source providers in the industry: The Apache Foundation, CentOS, Exim, Dovecot, and MySQL. In addition to having booths at the summit, all four of these open-source companies are speaking as well!
If you haven’t already registered to attend WebPros Summit 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia, please do! You can join in the conversation around the Summit (or anything else cPanel & WHM related) in our Slack and Discord channels, or on our official cPanel Subreddit!