If you haven’t heard of the term “open source” then here’s a quick introduction:
It’s a philosophy ” that promotes free redistribution and access to an end product’s design and implementation details”
So such software has been based on the open source principles. Good examples are the likes of VLC Media Player, Audacity, Foxit Reader and even Android. They all began and still run as open source projects. Why? That’s simple, it is because this process of development- works.
The implications of open sources projects can be simplified with one story:
Tammy is a Computer Science student at Wits and she has this dream of creating a mobile application that will help young girls do their make-up properly. Offering all the advice involving your skin tone; your skin sensitivity, your budget etc. So having learnt about open source development, she develops the application using the open source principles and licencing it as an open source project. Thandi is only in her second year at varsity, she isn’t exactly a Mark Zuckerburg type of programmer so she isn’t very good- but good enough to make it work and launch it.
Tshepo is also a Computer Science student but he is studying at the University of Capetown. Difference is: he is currently studying for his Masters and is often creating and re-creationg programs that he finds on the net and feels as though he could add his own input into the development. So he goes on an open source forum and finds out about Tammy’s application. He goes through it and thinks that it’s an overall great idea. But Tshepo is not a woman and neither is he an expert on female beauty, he is just a good and well experienced programmer. He decides to look at some of Tammy’s program’s source code and sees that he can actually make the app run faster by changing this and that; he also sees that he can add a necessary but difficult-to-code feature to greater the app’s abilities and he sees that he can code the program to be easier to use . Tshepo has now created a better version of Tammy’s application and he emails Tammy to show it to her or just “publishes” the application on the forum. By definition, because it is an open source project with open source licensing- Tammy could add all this code to her application and modify how she feels fit then publishes this ‘new’ version. So long as Tshepo’s contributions towards the project are noted and published alongside the program.
Now, let’s just take a look at what has happened here:
The target market in this case was woman that like to look beautiful using synthetic advice. That target market, or rather that society was blessed with the publication of Tammy’s application as it was relevant and it just made sense. After Tshepo had made his contributions towards the site this version was added onto that very first version of Tammy’s work and thus the application had become better.
Who benefits from these imoprovements?
-First of all, the community is delighted with the new improvements and acts accordingly
by downloading the application and donating to more improvements and most importantly: by
becoming our brand evangelists.
-This creates loyalty among your first ‘customers’ and thus more people are getting excited about this new application.
Time to monetize.
Point is this, the benefits that come from OpenSource development or OpenSource inspired projects( crowd funding, crowd sourcing) are infinitely immense as the contributions to the application just make it better thus bettering the lives of the community as a whole. So why not let go of the paranoia filled profit margins, secrecy and privacy.
Be open so that we can be open to use and improve your creations.
How open is your business? Or is secrecy your “kraal”?
Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter: