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The phrase "open source" is common and yet there are still many misconceptions around what it means.  

Unlike what some may think, open-source software does not always mean free software. Nor does it mean that a project has no license or copyright holder. Open source also does not make a particular software less secure. 

So, what is open source, and when should you consider using it in your software ecosystem?  

What is open source?

Typically, the phrase "open source" refers to open-source software, which is software with a publicly accessible codebase. End users can view, update and distribute the code.  

This does not mean that the code is unowned or unlicensed. Rather, open source involves releasing source code under a specific license that allows anyone to legally make changes to it and even use it in their own software builds.  

This means that members of the community can collaborate on and contribute to open-source software, even in cases where the software was initially built by corporations.  

For example, Google Cloud built Kubernetes then later released it as open source in 2014. In 2018, the Cloud Native Computing Foundation took over the maintenance of Kubernetes.

This mode of collaborative development has its history in the initial building of internet technologies and network protocols. Before the modern internet, there was the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANET), which involved peer review and open feedback processes.  

Corporations in the tech industry still practice this, not only in software development but also as a general decentralized approach to problem solving. This approach can potentially generate more innovative solutions. 

Benefits of open source

There are many benefits to using open-source software and it's not just about price. Open source does not mean cheap or free, and it can sometimes be more expensive to run than paid solutions.  

However, there are many reasons one might choose to use open-source software.  

Security and reliability

Since open-source code is public, community members – who are usually very active – can continuously check and improve on it. Anyone can view the code, so it is possible to track changes and identify bugs or possible security threats.  

There is also a higher level of innovation because there are more people from diverse backgrounds with different use cases updating the codebase.  

Freedom and flexibility

Starting with an open-source code base allows you to customize and modify the code to include additional features that your customers might need.  

This is often a more cost-efficient solution, rather than paying a hefty price for a built-from-scratch solution or using proprietary software that you must use out of the box.  

Using open-source software also means that you will not be tied down to a single vendor. At the same time, you can get resources and support from other developers who contribute to the code base.  

Imagine a project with the best developers from around the world working on it – that is the beauty of open source.

Why use Red Hat Open Source

If you are looking to get all the benefits of open source with solid enterprise support, Red Hat Open Source is an option you can explore.  

Cost savings

Red Hat open-source code is free to use, which means you would not have to pay licensing fees. While you would be paying for technical support, security and interoperability, this would contribute to further time savings.  

Continuous access to innovative technologies

With Red Hat open source, the community has access to the source code and would be able to highlight the best ideas for features and improvements. Red Hat supports these ideas by contributing to the code and creating products to meet user needs.  

You also do not have to worry about your software being discontinued, as you will have access to the code, which you can keep using and improving.  

Better threat alerts and security

In the same way, Red Hat open-source code enables a higher detection rate of possible threats. Open-source contributors work together to fix these security issues. On top of that, Red Hat also adds an additional layer of support by performing further tests and hardening security.  

How World Wide Technology can help with Red Hat Open Source

If you are looking to use Red Hat Open Source, World Wide Technology can provide a range of services – from consulting and training to validation and implementation – that will help you deploy your Red Hat solution at scale. Contact us to get started.