Up until a few years ago, I never really understood the value of Open Source Software (OSS). I used to think of it as something really lame because the quality that comes out of such software is usually “low”. Now why was I under such an impression? Linux. As a Windows user, I’ve always loved the OS for its ease of use and support for games. I found Linux to be a half-assed OS just because it didn’t support the games I played and it was relatively “difficult” to use. I couldn’t wrap my head around why Linux was such a big deal.
I started web development using WYSIWYG tools like Adobe Dreamweaver. I loved Dreamweaver. It was fantastic. It had every single feature that I wanted and more. I was happy.
Soon, I had to move from static HTML web sites to dynamic content serving websites using PHP. I thought PHP was awesome and powerful. I got serious with PHP development and started using software like Apache, MySQL etc. WAMP was pretty much my setup to start working on any new web app. I slowly switched to Eclipse for PHP (I was already an Eclipse for Java user). There were many tools that I needed which worked only on Linux. As a result, I had to “compromise” and switch to LAMP as my default development stack. At this point, everything I was using was OSS.
After a while, I moved on to Ruby. Moving to Ruby from Java/PHP was delightful. Ruby makes programming fun. My love for ruby got me thinking about how awesome open source is. The very concept of someone writing a beautiful programming language and giving it away for free was something that I couldn’t comprehend. Also, by this point of time, I started liking Linux. Linux felt powerful and easy to use especially for development.
It felt really good using Linux. If you’re a ruby developer and you’re into web development, you’re bound to use Sinatra or Rails at some point. It was when I started using Rails I understood the true value of OSS. I was making money by using tools that were written by others and given away for free.
<3 Open Source
Linux, Ruby and Rails convinced me as a developer that open source is really cool. There are many other pieces of OSS such as jQuery, NodeJS etc that contributed to it.
The most important aspect of an open source project is the license under which it’s being distributed. A license grants/restricts usage rights to an open source project. A good open source license gives its users the flexibility to use/modify/distribute it. Hence, having a license in an open source project is very important.
For this very purpose I’ve created a ruby gem called “opensource”.
opensource is a ruby gem that you can install and use to add a license to your open source project. You can install it by running the following command (assuming you have ruby 2.0+ installed)
gem install opensource
Once you have it installed, you can setup your credentials and start using the gem to create licenses.
The gem is open sourced under MIT license and you can find the source code at https://github.com/mohnish/opensource. You can find more information about the usage of the gem there. Please feel free to contribute back to the project. Contributions are always welcome <3.
I encourage each and everyone of you to contribute to open source software. It’s wonderful and satisfying.