I’m of the opinion that open source software is better software. I know that’s a broad statement and I suppose it’s not entirely factual – but that’s my opinion. It’s free to use, modify or sell and anyone can browse the code to see how it works for whatever purpose.
Open source software is found everywhere. WordPress (and all the themes and plugins in the WordPress.org repo) is open source under the GPLv2 or greater licence and my entire server stack uses open source software to power it.
In general the entire web relies heavily on open source software to make it work. The most common web server softwares (Apache and NGINX) are open source and another great example is how WordPress powers about 23% of all websites online. Google uses (and creates) open source software for many of it’s systems and even Facebook created – and then open sourced – the server software they use.
It’s crazy how much the web relies on open source to work. It’s part of the very heart of how we make and deliver what we build. I think that every web developer should take a few minutes every now and then to honestly consider if what they are doing could be contributed back to the community.
If it could be contributed back that doesn’t necessarily mean that it should be but it is worth considering.
With open source software it can be very easy for you to contribute to projects or make new ones. Many projects are hosted at GitHub – which is a free to use code and project hosting site that uses the Git software to manage repositories of code and provide distributed and centralized management capabilities.
GitHub is by far the largest open source code hosting site of all time so learning a bit about using Git is probably in your best interest if you use, or want to contribute to, open source projects.
With Git the learning curve feels very steep but it quickly levels off to a comfortable progression only needing to learn more if you want to have more power over your repository.
Since I’m a big user of open source software and I feel strongly about it from this moment onwards I’m committing myself to finding at least 1 hour in my week so I can work on open source projects.
I will be contributing to existing projects as well as releasing some of my own personal ones for anyone to use. I actually started to work on making a split testing plugin for WordPress a long time ago and never finished it so I’ve been working a bit on that. I recently pushed the MVTS plugin to GitHub if you’re interested.