Open Source from the Eyes of a GCI Student

This guest blog post is from Matt, one of our 2017-2018 Google Code-In participants. He penned this impressive piece for one of the tasks he claimed, “Write a blog post on why open source is valuable”.

Open source software is vitally important to the world of computer science and technology in general as it allows for many beneficial things to happen that are simply not possible with proprietary code and non open source code.

Firstly, open source benefits students and anyone interested in coding or technology as through this valuable resource they are easily able to study sample code and learn. If there were no open source software it would be much harder for them to learn well and get a good understanding of what coding looks like in practice. If young people learn how to code well they can apply that knowledge later on to help benefit all facets of society. It will not only benefit society but also the workforce as there will be more talent on the market meaning that companies should have the incentive to create more open source material as that is a way they could be investing in future talent. One last note on the economic side that is very important is the fact that since open source software is not made for profit and is usually free it allows for many people who cannot afford to experience technology to its fullest due to
financial issues to not only use it but also learn how it works.

Personally I have benefited from open source and specifically Google Code In as I have been able to experience and learn how to use github and to share files documents as well as how to receive feedback on my work from others, fix my mistakes and repeat the process.

Furthermore open source is also crucial in professional and commercial settings. For example if a piece of software is made open source, the consumer is able to not just use it but learn from it as well as contribute to it. Say something has a bug in it, in an open source software there is a good chance a user of the software will find it and maybe even fix it for the company. This will not only provide the consumer with a more interactive and educational experience but will give the company time to further develop the software rather than spend time fixing bugs.

In addition, because open source software is created by more people working together from different places and with different ideas not only is it more productive as often the people are not paid but also since people are doing this for enjoyment and education they are more likely to try to build something they are proud of and that they would like to use rather than a product that is purely made for and income.

Finally open source creates a sense of community. When working with many people from diverse
backgrounds towards a common goal it is inevitable that people will bond over their passion for the project and grow closer to one another. All in all, through the experience I have had and read about regarding open source I believe it is a very positive characteristic of development and coding that should remain available for everyone and used to it’s fullest potential.