Open source has always been an important part of our operations. The open source community helps drive innovation, transparency, and collaboration between the developers and users of a project. Today, we at KeyCDN, would like to discuss why we believe furthering open source is valuable and how you can too.
Why Contribute to Open Source?
Open source is a form of licensing agreement that allows anybody to freely use and modify the work of the original author. In terms of software, the “work” typically involves code. Therefore, if a project is made open source, you can use it in your own projects, access the entire codebase, and make changes to it, all free of charge. Contrary to proprietary software, whereas you’re unable to access the codebase nor are you allowed to make any modifications to the software itself.
Nurturing and contributing to open source is important for a few reasons:
- Transparency: All project code is available online for anyone to see. Therefore you can easily understand how something works by examining the code. This also helps improve upon code inefficiencies as the community can collectively work in spotting and resolving them.
- Collaboration: With the ability for developers all around the world to have access to any open source project, this makes collaboration efficient and easy. Whereas proprietary software typically stays within the development team within the company, open source software can be seen by anyone.
- Innovation: This goes hand-in-hand with the previous point. With so many people having access to a project, both innovation and inspiration occur much more organically.
- Security: With the collective knowledge of a community, security flaws are typically able to be identified and resolved faster.
- Experience: Open source projects are great for those who want to improve their coding skills while at the same time contributing to something that’s used by others. Projects on GitHub or BitBucket typically have an “Issues” section where contributors can go to fix known issues within the project. This is not only a great learning exercise but also gives potential employers a chance to see some of the work you’ve done.
- Costs: Of course, without open source software, it is likely that many startups would not have been able to establish or sustain operations due to the costs involved with certain proprietary software. Open source software helps greatly in reducing operational costs which is also a driver of innovation as without the burden of high software costs, innovators have greater access to the tools they need.
How KeyCDN Contribute’s to Open Source
At KeyCDN, we use various open source software projects within our platform. This not only helps decrease costs but also allows us to provide our users with cutting-edge features such as Brotli and Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates.
We believe it’s important to give back to the open source community which is why we do so in a variety of ways.
- Open source project maintainers require the use of bandwidth to distribute their projects to the world. In some cases, projects are hosted on third party servers which is an expense for the maintainer. Being a content delivery network, we’re able to help reduce the cost of bandwidth while at the same time accelerating the delivery of an open source project’s assets. We believe in open source and therefore if a project maintainer requires the use of one we’re happy to set that up with an open source CDN account.
- Open source project maintainers also require the use of funds for other expenses besides bandwidth. Project maintainers invest several hours of their time into their projects and in some cases, require funds for marketing, web design, etc. Therefore, we find it important to help support these projects with monetary donations. Open Collective is a great platform that easily brings open source creators and sponsors together.
- Releasing our own projects to the open source world is another way we try and give back to the community. KeyCDN currently has a collection of open projects which can be found on GitHub. These include our three Wordpress plugins as well as libraries and plugins for the KeyCDN platform and Optimus Image Compression service.
Five Ways You can Contribute to the Open Source Community
If you’re looking to contribute to the open source community there are a few ways to do so. Whether you’re a developer or not, there are ways anyone can give back. Here are a few suggestions:
- Contribute: Check the “Issues” section of an open source project you’re interested in and see if you can contribute by resolving some of their issues.
- Monetary sponsor: Make a monetary donation via Open Collective. In many cases, there are several sponsorship levels to choose from.
- Have your company provide a free product or service that is beneficial to the project: If your company offers a product or service that an open source project can use, consider reaching out to the maintainer of that project and providing them with a sponsored account.
- Start your own open source project: Have an idea for a project that could benefit the community? Start your own open source project and push it to a publicly available platform such as GitHub and BitBucket for the world to see/use.
- Share: If none of the options above are suitable for you, consider sharing open source projects you use and enjoy with your social network. The more people know about a particular project the better chance it has to become successful in the long run.
Open source is an important part of the online ecosystem, therefore, offering open source project maintainers support allows them to continue developing projects that are beneficial to many. If you want to give back to the open source community, consider any of the five suggestions mentioned above and let’s continue to grow the world of open source!