By Brian Modra

What is (computer jargon) "Source" ?

"Source" (code) is the ABC of the programmer. With it, he writes his program, which in turn is ingested by a compiler. A program is thus produced, which (in conjunction with a computer) is a tool for realising the objective, be it book keeping, a web site, or online booking, etc...

The source code is just a cog in this process, but it is central to a key computer industry issue:

"Open Source"

Source code is usually kept secret. The companies who wanted to protect their investments have traditionally applied patent and copyright laws to it.

"Open" source, on the other hand, is never secret. You can see all the source code for programs that are open sourced. Open source software development is the modus operandi of a new breed of computer programmers, and it will soon be the fashionably accepted way to write programs.

Open source development has actually been around for decades, but it's only recently, that it is rising like a wave which will take the world by storm. The most prominent example of open source, is Linux, a viable alternative to Microsoft Windows on personal computers.

A good concept

Its one of those things that "just makes sense", but which requires some faith on the part of the companies and programmers who employ it... simply because its a departure from tradition. The reason it makes sense, is that its easier to create Open Source. This is mainly because an open source programmer has access to a wealth of other people's work, which traditional close source programmers can't (legally) use.

The motivation behind Open Source usually begins in a programmer's mind as an issue of professional ethics. But then it evolves to a welcome realisation that "this really works".

The reason that companies like Nokia, Samsung, Motorola, are releasing cell-phones that use Linux (Open Source) is that they have to in order to compete against Google and Microsoft. (Google is pushing their cell-phone operating system "Android" - which is based on Linux. Android is already used in HTC smart-phones. Microsoft has long been pushing their Windows CE operating system for cell phones.)

They "have to" because its the fastest and most reliable route to getting a great smart-phone built. At the extreme other end of the scale, IBM has been using Linux for years now in its Super Computers.

Super Computing

This small company "Zwartberg Research & development" has been quietly operating in Prince Albert since 2006. While providing a state-of-the-art system of computer software for a vehicle tracking company "Absolute Security" (based in Cape Town), Zwartberg R&D has also been developing a system that will be used to bring the power of "Super Computing" to businesses. "Super Computing" is used only for large research organisations, but the same concepts can be used so that business applications can handle more and more data without grinding to a halt.

This web page was designed by Zwartberg R&D.

Zwartberg Reseach & Development is a registered trading name of Open Source Software Consulting CC.
Phone:+27235411462, fax:+27235411379, mobile:+27796977082,
brian@zwartberg.com, P.O. Box 2, Prince Albert, 6930, South Africa.

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