In today’s economy, business needs are constantly evolving, and technology must keep up with them. Unfortunately, proprietary software holds many organizations back, denying them the flexibility and adaptability needed to cope with changing priorities and needs.
Open source software, of course, is computer software that has its code available to parties other than the original developer to study, change, and distribute to others. Copyright holders of open source software typically make their work available with licenses, which provide third parties with the right to use and change the source code, but may also impose some limitations, such as a requirement to preserve the name of the original authors and copyright statement within the code. With the help of YoppWorks professional training, open source software such as Scala, Akka, and Spark are available to any individual interested in broadening their knowledge.
Open source software development provides companies with the individualized answers they need to the challenges they face. While many organizations still lean toward proprietary software, a growing number of organizations are embracing open source software development. In fact, most of the technological devices you use every day—mobile phones, computers, etc.— use at least some form of open source software.
Analysts at Gartner, a leading information technology research and advisory company, say that 85 percent of companies are currently using open source software to some degree, and most of the remaining companies intend to do so within a year.
In 2016, the federal government implemented a program requiring agencies to release a fifth of any new code they develop as open source software. Big companies are also increasingly coming to love open source, as Walmart recently released an open source cloud management system and ExxonMobile has released an open source developer toolkit to promote standard data formats among oil and gas companies. Big corporations are hiring more open source software developers and hiring consultants to provide programming courses to existing staff. YoppWorks provides quality programming education and experienced consultants for anyone or business that is interested in a highly reactive, easily scalable and extremely flexible software development.
Advantages of Open Source Software Development with YoppWorks
Open source software offers business and other organizations many advantages over more buttoned-up proprietary software solutions. Some of the advantages of open source software learned through YoppWorks programming courses include:
- Quality – Having the ability to tweak and refine software rather than having to just accept it as-is out of the box and wait for updates to fix problems allows open source users to more rapidly address problems. Many open source software projects have vast communities of developers constantly testing and tinkering with the code. This democracy of talent often catches flaws or realizes possibilities that a small team of developers would miss. The end result is a better-quality software product.
- Customizability – Open source software can be customized to meet the individual needs of businesses, allowing them to develop functionalities their users need while pruning off unneeded functions. Customization allows businesses to get exactly the features they need—a tremendous help in obtaining the best value from their software.
- Transparency – Users of closed source software have only their vendors’ assurances that the software is secure and is operating as promised. Knowledgeable users of open source software can see for themselves whether the software is performing as promised.
- Interoperability – Open source software provides greater ability to work with systems and applications used by other organizations than proprietary software does. Open source software was designed to be adjusted and tweaked. Making it work with another set of software is often simple for experienced programmers.
- Cost – Open source software is often much less expensive than proprietary software. Nearly all open source software is free. Maintenance costs are the major expense involved in using open source software.
- Support – Proprietary software can be frustrating when you need support, as many software makers don’t have the staff to quickly resolve your issues. This is where open source software has a big advantage. Because so many people are taking apart and putting back the code every day, there is a huge pool of talent to turn to when a problem arises with open source software.
- Longevity – If the company you bought your proprietary software from goes out of business, you lose a variety of important features and services, including patches, bug fixes, support, updates, and more. Open source users can always hire a consultant to fix or upgrade their software or teach staffers programming courses so they can handle the work.
Challenges to Using Open Source Software
Like any technology, there are some vulnerabilities and obstacles associated with using open source software development. For businesses and organizations just diving into open source software development, it helps to work with YoppWorks consultants who can help personnel learn computer programming and other skills needed to mitigate these problems.
Some challenges many organizations face when using open source software development include:
- Licensing – Open source projects do need a license to establish distribution policies and how others can use the software. Openness is helpful; a Wild West approach is not. Developers need to understand and agree to your project’s license.
- Security threats – This potential problem is probably the No. 1 reason that some organizations are wary of open source development. Because it’s easy to tinker with open source software, that makes it vulnerable to attack. Smart organizations know how to combat this problem by creating a robust and secure underlying framework and by having competent developers capable of responding to security threats.
- Technical support – Many open source projects require fast and responsive technical support. While the open source community can help, the company developing the software still needs to be on the ball when dealing with the problems that can crop up in open source development.
- Platform compatibility – Not all application platforms are capable of running open source software. Many application platforms are only compatible with software made or approved by the creator of the platform. Organizations considering an open source software development project need to consider a variety of application platforms to find the one that’s best for their project.
- Obtaining pre-release reviews – Unfortunately, not many people want to be the guinea pig when it comes to open source software projects, making pre-release reviews hard to conduct. Good marketing efforts before the release of open source software can help increase participation in pre-release reviews, which are all-important for finding bugs.
The rewards of using open source software in your organization far outweigh the risks, as this software can drastically improve the efficiency of your business and reduce software costs.
Leading Open Source Tools
If you’re ready to take advantage of the versatility and other benefits open source software development can provide, learning about some of the best open source tools YoppWorks offers courses in and how your business can utilize them will help you make the best choices going forward.
- Scala – Scala provides a concise programming language that’s compatible with Java. Scala has a number of advantages over Java, however. Scala is tighter than Java, allowing programmers to do more with less code. It has readable syntax features that make it easier to understand and use. Because Scala requires less coding than Java, time to completion of products is greatly reduced. It’s also much easier to test programs written in Scala than Java.
- Fast data – Fast data is a quick and adaptive means of analyzing the deluge of data now available to companies and organizations. Fast data differs from big data in that big data examines a large amount of data gathered over time to make predictions, spot problems, and identify trends. Fast data is more reactive in that it analyzes large amounts of data as it is incoming, allowing more rapid identification of emerging trends and immediate action to respond to these developments. An open source solution that incorporates fast data can provide powerful results to businesses, as it will provide them with a flexible, scalable means of analyzing important incoming data in real time.
- Hadoop – This is an open-source Java programming framework that is used to run applications supporting the processing and storage of big data in a distributed computing environment. One of Hadoop’s key benefits is that it is very scalable—organizations using it can add servers to increase the amount of data their system can handle. Hadoop also has a high level of fault tolerance, as the computing resources it uses are spread out among many machines. Hadoop is the backbone of many large data gathering operations.
For companies ready to embrace open source software development, partnering with a company that can help mentor your staff through computer programming courses, and which can provide other related services, will help your efforts be more successful. YoppWorks is a company committed to helping businesses and organizations use open source software to more efficiently meet their needs. YoppWorks is partnered with Lightbend and Hortonworks, the developers of Scala and Hadoop, and provides development, consulting, and training services.