Open Source Software plays a major role in 3D configurator projects. You will see this when you enter “What is Open Source Software?” in the Google input field:

open source software

What does Open Source mean?

This is a very good definition for explaining open source software, but it is not complete. There is much more to know about open source than many people think.

To be able to call their software open source, there are several requirements. Here is a list of the most important aspects:

  • To be called open source, the software must provide a copy of its source code. The software must also allow complete and free redistribution. The source code must be provided in a form that can be modified by other programmers. If the code is not preserved in the software, there must be an easily accessible form that can be downloaded by others.
  • The author must allow modified versions to be distributed under the same license as the original.
  • The author may not prevent anyone from giving away or selling the software as part of the distribution of a software package containing multiple programs. If someone sells the software, the original author cannot charge royalties.
  • The original author may not discriminate against anyone who may redistribute or modify the software.
  • If someone distributes the original software, the original license must be disclosed.
  • The license may not contain any restrictions on other software that may be distributed with it.
  • If the software does not meet these requirements, it cannot be considered an open source license.

How can you help with an open source project even if you are not a programmer?

There are many ways to contribute to open source software without programming skills.

  • Make the software developer aware of their problems. User feedback is an extremely important part of the development process that is often overlooked. If your software crashes, let the developer know. If the problems are never reported, they won’t be fixed. Everyone benefits when problems are reported.
  • Document everything. If you are an experienced software user, you should be able to create adequate documentation on how to fully use a program. Unfortunately, open source software often lacks the right documentation.

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  • Test, test and retest. This creates another way to find bugs and report them to the developer. Beta testing is the perfect way to report problems because the software has not yet gone through a full version. This is exactly what beta testing is supposed to be.
  • Share your knowledge in forums. This is similar to the documentation in terms of benefits. Experienced software users have a tremendous chance to help other people who are trying to learn. These users can be an extremely valuable asset for others just learning how to use the open source software.

Open source is important.

Open source is important because it gives everyone the right to study and learn. Proprietary software usually does not offer the freedom to view or modify the code. Open source comes with the ability to learn and share.

Chances are you are using open source software and may not even have realized it. You are currently using an open source software program. WordPress is the world’s most popular blogging and hosting platform. Our blog is written and published with WordPress. Some other popular examples of open source software that you may be familiar with:

  • Mozilla Firefox – This open source web browser competes with other popular browsers such as Google Chrome, Internet Explorer and Apple Safari.
  • Mozilla Thunderbird – This is an open source email client that we recommend to our own customers. Thunderbird is a great open source alternative to Microsoft Outlook.
  • Magento – This is a widely used open source eCommerce platform. The Community Edition is available free of charge.

Open source software is widespread and incredibly useful. Take a look around and see what open source software you can use every day. You can save some money and maybe even help expand the open source community. Try it now.

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