Open Source, it is not just for Linux anymore
I was involved in an email discussion the other day with a fellow Amateur Radio operator about a program called UI-View, a Windows-based application for the Automatic Position Reporting System. In the course of our discussion I inquired into the state of the source code, having pointed out that some of the interfaces should be reviewed to take advantage of some of the newer mapping tools. I was informed that the source code had been destroyed on the author’s death, at his request. This made me pause.
I paused, not because the author was dead, I knew that. In fact, Roger Barker G4IDE had been dead for several years before I got around to using his software. I paused because I was absolutely stunned that any Amateur, a member of a community that prides itself on innovation, experimentation, and community mentoring would willing destroy the source code for what is arguably a professional grade piece of software, well thought out, and very functional. This made me pause and review the software I use as an Amateur.
There is a large amount of software that is in use by the Amateur community that is open sourced. Most (dare I say all?) of it is Linux-based, which is not a surprise. In my tool box, I have software for logging contacts, running APRS, programming my radios (and each one is slightly different for each radio) and doing packet work. It would seem every single one of them is closed (or at the very least, not openly saying they will share their source).
Perhaps the developers have a good reason for this. Perhaps they are unaware of the advantages of being open sourced. One of the most beneficial to my mind is keeping the code going after the passing of the original author (either by death or frustration). Good applications show their value and people pick up the torch and keep it going, even if the originating author is done with it. Other advantages, as have been stated elsewhere, include fewer errors in the code, a more rapid time to completion and those gee whiz! moments of insight that move the state of the art forward.
Certainly there are issues related to resources. It is not cheap to procure a compiler and development environment for the Windows platform, learn the interfaces, or is it easy to test software to be used in a community that has been described as the cheapest group of individuals on the planet. My tongue is only slightly in my cheek. Amateur Radio operators will acquire any old piece of technology and keep it running if there might be a value to it. I have seen some amazing things come out of these junk drawers, from antennas to interfaces between old tube radios and modern computers. And computer technology runs the gamut from modern laptops running Vista and Linux to clunkers that barely boot running DOS…version 2. So I can understand why a developer might want to make a buck with his or her code.
One of the more interesting things I have seen, outside of the shareware model for raising funds, although not as much recently, is the wishlist model in the open source community. I first saw it with Tobi Oetiker’s MRTG program all those years ago with his CD wish list. Today he has a much more robust funding model, primarily spurred by the ability to target ads, something that was not as well defined in the late 1990s. But by and large, the model in the open source community has been to crank out the code and make it available for the joy of doing it, or because the developer or group of developers saw a problem and a solution and thought that others could benefit from it.
On the Windows side, however, this generally is not the case. There are a number of Windows programs that are open sourced, but many of these did not start as Windows programs. Notable programs are Pigin and Wireshark two programs that started in the Linux realm and were ported to Windows because of demand, but it does not seem that programs that start natively in Windows-based development are developed with the same sense of … well openness.
So, to those who code, especially those who code on the Windows platform, I am not opposed to your recouping of costs, but I would encourage you to open source your code. You might be pleasantly surprised at the results. And to those who already do, my thanks.
Fast/Flexible Linux OS Recovery
On Demand Now
In this live one-hour webinar, learn how to enhance your existing backup strategies for complete disaster recovery preparedness using Storix System Backup Administrator (SBAdmin), a highly flexible full-system recovery solution for UNIX and Linux systems.
Join Linux Journal's Shawn Powers and David Huffman, President/CEO, Storix, Inc.
Free to Linux Journal readers.Register Now!
- Ubuntu Online Summit
- Devuan Beta Release
- The Qt Company's Qt Start-Up
- Download "Linux Management with Red Hat Satellite: Measuring Business Impact and ROI"
- EnterpriseDB's EDB Postgres Advanced Server and EDB Postgres Enterprise Manager
- The US Government and Open-Source Software
- May 2016 Issue of Linux Journal
- BitTorrent Inc.'s Sync
- Open-Source Project Secretly Funded by CIA
- New Container Image Standard Promises More Portable Apps
In modern computer systems, privacy and security are mandatory. However, connections from the outside over public networks automatically imply risks. One easily available solution to avoid eavesdroppers’ attempts is SSH. But, its wide adoption during the past 21 years has made it a target for attackers, so hardening your system properly is a must.
Additionally, in highly regulated markets, you must comply with specific operational requirements, proving that you conform to standards and even that you have included new mandatory authentication methods, such as two-factor authentication. In this ebook, I discuss SSH and how to configure and manage it to guarantee that your network is safe, your data is secure and that you comply with relevant regulations.Get the Guide