It has been a decade since the term open source was chosen to represent the concept. Since then open source has changed the way we develop software and it has changed the way users participate. It has made businesses rethink their business models and has helped the industry evolve new economies. It has given freedom and power to the users to participate and understand something important that they use everyday. It has really impacted every aspect of software business, development and usage.
However, it is still considered as an alternative, mostly because it does not fit in the ready-made business formulae. It demands a change in our fundamental thinking of selling code, which has not been very easy. Also, the fact that now everything about the software has to be made public might hurt some project management philosophies. Some blame also falls on lack of education of open source, which has helped spread myths. Even a good bunch of developers feel that open source does not protect their work. Open source, in fact, does much better by providing you licenses which explicitly do that for you.
Open source is based on the fact that sharing code, whether it is with other developers or your users, helps and betters the code. Software development is also a tricky business where you need to have a continuous pulse of the user’s needs. Open source makes it a lot simpler and easier.
Of course, this does not mean that open source is all cake walk. Open source projects tend to gain momentum in jumps and it can get unmanageable if good project management techniques are not used. That is why it is important to look at our software development methodologies in the open source light and try to make them work with each other.
But as a software developer, I feel that open source adds a lot of value. It is also possible to make proprietary and open source co-exist, but I feel that it will mostly be a transition phase for most of the software.
Open source has been here for a lot less than the proprietary software has been. But it has still managed to make us think about everything we do with software. I hope it will get more popular with users and then it will be able to do much more.