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Open Source Concept and Concerns
[385호] 2017년 05월 03일 (수) Reporter Kim Do-yeong doyeongkim@
In FOSSASIA, open source summit recently held in Singapore, Mar. 17, keynote speaker Chan Cheow Hoe introduced projects adopting an open source system such as developing software and searching the fastest way for ambulances to reach patients. In South Korea, KTDS, an IT service company, also launched an open source solution ‘OBICs COMPASS’ to manage open source system.
Open source is getting more and more familiar to people. Open source is a software which is opened to everyone to modify the source code. Though it is derived by programming of source code, now its meaning is extended to various fields which keep the values like transparency, collaborations, etc. This open source system consists of the user, the contributor, and the committer. The picture above illustrates relationships in an open source community.
Integrated Development Environment (IDE) is a typical example of open source. Eclipse developed by IBM is one of the IDEs using open source. At first, IBM released an IDE named ‘Visual Age’. Aiming at expandability, IBM hoped users would participate in developing. So they released a new IDE named Eclipse, and switched Eclipse to open source and found a nonprofit foundation to support Eclipse. As a result, more enterprises and developers participated in Eclipse projects.
Open source is both beneficial to the program distributor and the user. For distributors, an open source helps the developer access collective intelligence. This means the developer can improve their software more creatively. To users, they can modify the software by themselves. Github is one of the most successful open source hosting communities. Through this server, various kinds of program have been developed, and developers have developed their careers.
On the other hand, problems associated with an open source have been posed continuously. Open source can produce various versions of original program, but that modifications does not assure security. The fact that a program’s source code is opened to everybody is abused by hackers who find a weak point of program and make viruses. For example, Mike Pittenger, vice president of product strategy for Black Duck Software, said, “Open source problems associated with security could cause tremendous recalls of cars.”
Red Hat, an open source software company, recently announced open source management of Asia-Pacific region. In South Korea, 42% of respondents already adopted the open source in their business, and 8% of them have intention to expand their open source system. More than half respondent use open source as a cost-reducing method. This is because open source could provide ideas of development by not only their company’s engineers, but also many contributors.
Historically, many examples of open source show its effectiveness through collective intelligence. On the other hand, it also exposes its weakness such as security and difficulty of commercialization. Open source is a promising concept, but should be utilized with proper precautions.

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