What is open source?

You’ve heard the term ‘open source’. You know it’s a good thing, but what exactly does it mean? And, how exactly can it benefit your eCommerce site? 

What does open-source mean? 

Open source means that code is accessible and open to the public. Anyone can modify and adapt it for use (without altering the source code that is). What that means is more freedom for creative development. So, instead of great ideas only being enabled by those who have the tools; more people can innovate, and take one idea (or tool) to even greater heights. 

It’s precisely because of open source, and the freedom for development and innovation that it enables, that we have seen such fast-paced advancement in new technologies, new apps and new ideas coming to life. Open-source (or OSS) has helped enable a more collaborative approach to innovation.   

What does open source do?

  • It distributes software freely. 
  • Removes barriers to innovation.
  • Advances technology through collaboration. 

Examples of open source 

The internet is open source software. In fact, many things familiar to you are OSS. For example, Android OS and Apple OS X, as well as the Mozilla Firefox browser and Python programming.  Magento V2 has a free open source version, meaning that when you upgrade your Magento site to the latest version, you get instant access to the latest innovations. 

It’s not a free-for-all

There are rules surrounding open source, for example, it must include the source code, and it must not discriminate against any persons. What this means is that, while open source promotes freedom, innovation, and collaboration, it is monitored to make sure that it above all remains safe and fair.  

If you want to read more about the rules surrounding open source, you can find them here

How does it benefit eCommerce? 

The main benefit of an open-source Magento 2 upgrade is that it gives you maximum flexibility. Magento 2 for Commerce can help you run multiple sites from one platform. It can help with complex categories and bundles, and enable a site that is compatible with different, easy payment options, such as PayPal and Amazon Pay. While migration to Magento 2 Open Source is perfect for start-up or growing stores. It has low overheads, can free you from an attachment to costly developers, and enable you to easily manage your store, with support from the wonderful innovators working behind the scenes. 

Open source is actually more secure 

Even though the word ‘open’ implies that you’re exposed to the elements, in reality, open source is more secure than closed. There are fewer bugs per line of code, and that’s because there are more people looking at it, working out the bugs, and fixing them faster. Unlike a closed source platform, reliant on one or two developers, you have access to a whole community of them. So, problems often get fixed before you even know they exist, and you’re not out of pocket paying for them.  

Open source means freedom

Open source is freedom and flexibility for your eCommerce store. There are no restrictions on it. What that means for you is that there are no restrictions on variations, numbers of products, categories, images or anything else that may come with closed source selling platforms. It’s also freedom from your ties to a particular developer. It can be worked on by anyone, so if you decide to take your store in a new direction, it’s easy to change, and if your developer wants to jet off and travel the world, your site will be able to keep going without them.  

Open-source software, like that which you’ll find with the latest Magento 2, gives you both the freedom of use, and freedom in terms of codebase and integrations. So it gives you far more than just freedom – it gives you ultimate flexibility. With OSS you can design the store you want. 

It’s a two-way street 

Open source gives you a voice. If you spot a bug or need an app, you can submit it. The crucial thing to remember is that OSS projects are not tied to the person who created it. Other developers can come in and work on it and develop it. 

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