What is Open Source

We've seen the offical Open Source Definition, now it is time to see what an Open Source solution is in the reality.

So I start from a few of the declarations that I ear regularly :
  1. Open Source software cost you nothing
  2. Open Source software needs to be installed and configured by developers
  3. Open Source software are not supported
  4. There is more security problems with Open Source software than with legacy commercial ones
  5. and so on ....
All of the former statements are incorrect. The following statements, them, they are correct. They are explaining what Open Source really is.
 
Open Source software is not Freeware
The term Open Source Software describe a software which is made available along with its source code, allowing various parties to review / modify / patch it. This doesn't mean that this software will cost you nothing. It's true that most of the Open Source software is available for free on the Internet, but there are some paying software which are also Open Source. I will call them Commercial Open Source Software, in opposition to what I will call (Legacy) Commercial Software, a software for wich you pay but without having the right to access the source code.
Any skilled System Administrator can install Open Source software, this does not require more specific knowledge than for other kind of software. In some case, it may be difficult to get very detailed documentation, but like for any other things, "Google is your friend". And you can count also on the user community via forums, wiki or mailing lists.
No need for super-skilled profile to install
24 / 24 hour support by the community
Open Source software are the result of a common work of a group of developper, sometimes spread around the world and only interconnected by Internet.
To solve a problem you may ever have, there will always be someone awake in the world to help you through a forum or mailing list.
In some case, there can be a commercial organization behind an Open Source project who is offering paying enterprise-grade support.
Since the source-code of a project is publicly available, anybody on the Internet has the possibility to review the code. So the development becomes virtually as big as the Internet !
By having widered the community of testers and reviewers, the Open Source projects offer software of a higher quality. Having more bug and security fixes than any other solutions doesn't mean that there is more problems, but that the problems are more quickly discovered and solved.
The  openess of the code virtually allow anybody in the world to review the code for bugs or security issues
Transparency over the work done and to be done
A collaboration via Internet may seems to be anarchic at first sight. But from this initial situation, a new way to manage and engineer the software is born. Because there is transparency, anyone can see what has been done and what is planned to be done on the project.