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SVS HARSHITH for GNU/Linux Users' Group, NIT Durgapur

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How open source changed the world: The 'WORLD WIDE WEB'

We all have heard about open source at some point or the other .

So, what is it and why ? how does it work ? and does it really help anything let alone the internet?

Lets answer them one by one.

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So for the first question the penguin googled it, and it says :

"denoting software for which the original source code is made freely available and may be redistributed and modified."

So , open source is anything that can be used by anyone freely . It is software with source code that anyone can inspect, modify, and enhance.

So in a world which is predominantly capitalistic, why go for free ?

many reasons -

  • Freedom
  • Privacy
  • Community
  • its free ,well duh !

Open source code is usually stored in a public repository and shared publicly. Anyone can access the repository to use the code independently or contribute improve the project.

Open source software usually comes with a distribution license.
Now a license is what turns a code into an Open source Component .

Its awesome , isn't it ?
To add more to it, here is a list of how it helps the world :

  • Open standards
  • Lower cost for the software
  • More reliable and better quality software
  • The Internet

The list goes on and on , and yes The Internet .
a thing which we cant live without and it cant live without open source .

To understand how open source is indispensable to the web, we'll need to understand how it started and and how it works .

Tim Berners-Lee, a British scientist, invented the World Wide Web (WWW) in 1989, while working at CERN. It was started so that scientist in various universities around the world could share information among themselves.

On 30 April 1993, CERN put the World Wide Web software in the public domain. Later, CERN made a release available with an open licence, a more sure way to maximise its dissemination.

This is how making the web open source allowed it to flourish.

But this was just the beginning, open sources still has a large role play in the world wide web . as mentioned earlier we need to understand how the web works first to establish this point .

Working of the web -

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  • The computer using the internet is connected to the Internet Service Provider via cables or wireless connections.
  • Further the ISP is connected to the DNS with the help overhead cables . the DNS sends the details of the webpage you're looking for the to the ISP.
  • The DNS is connected to the respective servers hosting the website .
  • The server now in response to the request made sends back data to the computer in the form of packets.

The fundamental functions of the Internet are built on open source technologies. The Linux operating system regulates the operation of Web servers, and the Apache Web server application negotiates data transfer between the worldwide server infrastructure and personal devices.

Countless Internet applications are also open source, some of which are :

  • Browsers : most of the browsers that we use today are open source , the biggest example would be Firefox which is the 2nd most used web browser

  • Internet Protocols : many of communication protocols today are open source .

  • Tech stacks : these are the technology services used to build and run an application . a majority of which are open source , with the help of the open source community various technologies are built and maintained so that anyone can use it or even contribute towards it .

The presence of open source on the Web is so profound that you can essentially build your own Internet , as every aspect of the internet can be built on Open Source software and protocol.

We got more on this topic for you to explore ,To know more head over to this YouTube Video -

YT video - how open source changed the world

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Until then,
stay safe, and May the Source Be With You!

Star Wars Who?

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