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Open Source Programming Software

Open source software is now under consideration in many companies and organizations


The success of some open source products, particularly Linux and Apache, has come quickly, given that they were not available fifteen years ago.

It is important to be aware of what open source software can represent for companies or for individuals, at least.

There are always both new technology advancements and business structures, and

the steps that could be taken to evaluate and implement them aren’t very different, usually. Each new set of innovations can also bring new kinds of challenges. Open source programs offer a set of new ways and tools to look at certain problems. 

As a new set of technologies is introduced, it can often be mixed or combined differently. Maybe now there are places for open source software in your organization because networks and distribution channels (the WWW, for example) changed the limits of how people interact and work. 

We could contrast and compare open software products among themselves and with products for the Windows systems that are used today so you know what they are for and which ones you’ll need. 

There’s a group of people who take new ideas in technology and have the vision and practical leadership to put them in widespread use in their 
organizations. Also, we can separate the systems where open source is now a preferred choice that may work in practically every company, from those where a careful evaluation must be made before taking a decision. 

A study may start with the Linux operating system, the BSD option and their variations. We can follow by learning how open source systems have been developed and the methods and languages used. It’s important to be aware of server applications, infrastructure, database, and communication technology.

There are desktop applications, browsers, office suites, and a variety of professional and personal applications.

In the open source community the information is always out there, the trick is to navigate through it efficiently. 

Open source programming software is portable in theory and in practice. In theory, it’s portable because the source code is available and the tools to build from the code are available on many platforms. In practice, it’s actually found that open source products are generally available on multiple platforms. 

Today, there are two major operating systems that are widely installed
and growing in installations on servers and desktops: Windows and Linux. Open code servers and languages such as Apache, MySQL, and Perl are available on Linux, but are also available on Windows, Mac-OS and other systems. With open source, because data, documentation and source code are available, you can always make things work together by studying these documents. With proprietary systems you’re dependent on the code owner.

Open Source Desktop Applications

Graphical desktops

It’s possible to run Linux in text mode, but this is only done for installation or debugging situations nowadays. Linux can be installed to start in graphical mode, using a windowing system, and a desktop platform will usually run a file manager with a set of integrated utilities.

Web browsers

It’s possible to test on Mozilla and Konqueror or Opera.

Office programs (word processing, spreadsheet, presentations)

There are several open source office suites: OpenOffice, KOffice, Gnome Office.

Professional applications (graphics, databases, Web design)

This includes applications for project and image management, and other professional work. There are good open source programs available, but they may not match feature by feature.

Drawing and Image Processing

The open source programs GIMP, Dia, and Sodipodi compare favorably for
general users with PhotoShop, Visio, and Illustrator. Most people will find these programs more than enough. GIMP is available on Windows also and is a very good image program for professional and home use on that platform as well as Linux. Dia is similar to MS-Visio. It’s good enough for simple work, and for custom work the tools for creating shapes are reasonably easy to use.

Scientific Software - Open Source Programming

Numerical software, graphical utilities, tools to work with massive amounts of data and matrices: Octave, GNUPlot, Maxima. Free programming software in sourceforge.net: Scientific applications.

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