by Tess Cortés

The open source movement has been crucial to the evolution and growth of recent technologies.

What does open source mean?

When referring to software development, is a type of licensing that allows for projects to be openly shared, used, and modified. It is sometimes referred to as “free software,” but doesn’t necessarily mean free as in zero cost, but rather freedom to modify and redistribute. Open source can apply to either software or hardware, such the electronics platform Arduino.

More recently, open source has expanded into the broader notion of general idea sharing and DIY (Do It Yourself). In fact, the concept has spread to the furniture market; Ikea is reportedly releasing a new “Open Source” sofa.

The best creators of open source projects are very generous (and concise!) in their documentation and resources. These resources become tools from which users can be transformed into makers. There are many online repositories for software projects, such as SourceForge and GitHub. The hands-on crowd can find essential step-by-steps and inspiration in sites like these. Some people, like myself, learn (or relearn, 3rd grade was a long time ago!) basic electronics concepts and programming languages by following projects that excite and challenge.

At its heart, open source is the democratization of technology and knowledge. It empowers, enriches, and educates.

Do you document and share your projects online? Let us know in the comments!

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