Understanding Open Source Software, Closed Source Software, Freeware and Shareware
Open Source Software: The Basics
Software comprises codes and instructions that form an application or program on a computer or smartphone. The software instructs the hardware on how to operate the device. When choosing between the best Android phones in the market, each manufacturer offers its unique software experience. This guide compares open source software with other available options such as closed source software and freeware.
Open source software is an application or program on the public web that users can access for free. These can be modified and distributed among other users. A group of developers usually maintains these programs and keeps them updated with new features and bug fixes. Open source software is known for its high trustworthiness because the code is available for anyone to inspect, promoting transparency.
GitHub is a popular code-sharing platform that allows users to start an open-source software project in minutes. The platform also supports social interaction, allowing developers to communicate and share their ideas with others.
One great example of open source software is the Android operating system. Google provides its base source code for free, which allows users to customize their devices to their specific needs. Some well-known Android smartphone manufacturers that use AOSP include Samsung with One UI 5 and OnePlus with OxygenOS 13.
What is Closed Source Software?
Closed source software differs from the open source option as it uses proprietary code that isn’t available to the general user. A company or private group of individuals maintains closed source software, ensuring nobody can exploit or gain access to it. Companies prefer this type of software to maintain a tighter control of the user experience. The example of closed source software is how Apple manages iOS on its iPhone devices, where the company maintains control over the hardware and software, without allowing access to the iOS source code.
Where Does Freeware and Shareware Fit Into Open Source vs. Closed Source Software?
Freeware software is free to download and unrestricted to use, but users can’t modify the code. This software has locked down source code and is not available to the public. Many smartphone apps fall under the category of freeware, such as those available on the Google Play Store or Apple App Store.
In terms of shareware, software is free to use to an extent, but typically, a free trial period enforces that purchase of the software is necessary before continued use. Like freeware, shareware can’t be modified or redistributed without proper permission.
Why Are More Users Starting to Look Towards Open Source Software?
The use of open source software is increasing among users to enhance privacy levels and the security of their devices. As people become more connected online, more of our personal lives are being associated with smartphones. Thus, users are looking to prevent corporate data harvesting by using open source software. Open source projects are generally inspected by a community of privacy-minded individuals, with the source code available for anyone to inspect, ensuring transparency. In contrast, closed source software is maintained by a group or company that has control over the user experience, often at the expense of transparency.
Open Source Software Has Plenty of Advantages That Make It Useful
Open source software has numerous benefits, including transparency of the code. Users can view the code which makes it highly trustworthy. In addition, users can tweak and customize open source software to their liking, giving them more control over their experience. It empowers users to be in charge of their devices, not the other way around. Graphene OS is an example of such software that enhances privacy and security on your smartphone.