What this post is about
- 7-zip: Practical data archives
- LibreOffice: Digital office
- Firefox: Surfing the Internet faster
- VLC media player: Limitless playback options
- LINUX: An operating system with plenty of room for development
For individual needs and IT solutions, open-source projects offer the opportunity to customize software according to one's own preferences. They enable users with the relevant IT skills to collaborate and enhance programs collectively. The communal access to open-source code makes it possible.
Open source has always been an important part of the software ecosystem. However, today it is a crucial foundational element in almost every software. The annual Octoverse reports by GitHub demonstrate that open-source software is no longer a niche project. According to last year's report, 90% of companies rely on open source, and in 2022 alone, developers made over 413 million contributions to open-source projects on GitHub.
Many people are unaware that many widely installed tools also originate from the open-source scene. Sufficient reason to introduce some of the best programs.
Texts, images, and videos consume large amounts of storage space on hard drives and servers. In times when fast internet connections and expanding storage were not yet commonplace, compressing file archives brought about a significant breakthrough. 7-Zip is among the open-source pioneers that dedicated themselves to this task early on, and since then, it has been compressing large amounts of data based on the Cryptozip and AES-256 methods.
The fundamental software was developed by IT specialist Igor Viktorovich Pavlov. He released the first version of the software in 1999 and remains actively involved in its ongoing development. In July 2007, the file hosting service SourceForge awarded 7-Zip as the best open-source project.
For many, the Microsoft Office suite is an essential part of office work. Without Excel, Word, and PowerPoint, it seems that daily office operations are hardly possible. Unfortunately, the fact that there is a free alternative to Microsoft's all-in-one package often remains in the background in public perception. In practice and use, the open-source alternative LibreOffice is a welcome option to the well-known tools.
Based on the source code of OpenOffice, originally developed by the Apache Foundation, LibreOffice has been further optimized in recent years. Even on older Windows versions, the open-source software can be used, as special versions have been adapted for previous operating systems. This advantage is something that even Microsoft rarely offers.
The foundation for the open-source browser Firefox was laid with the establishment of the Mozilla project in 1998. It took four years of development until the first version became available in 2002. Although in the early 2000s, it was challenging to surpass the pre-installed Internet Explorer, Firefox gained increasing popularity due to a better user experience.
The freely available source code has since provided developers with the freedom to optimize and customize their own browsing experience according to their preferences. Thanks to continuous improvements, experts and connoisseurs still consider the open-source browser to offer the best performance and stability in comparison to Safari, Chrome, or Edge, even today.
Similar to the comparison between LibreOffice and Microsoft Office, the same holds true for the VLC Media Player and the various pre-installed multimedia tools from Microsoft or Apple. While both companies have limited themselves with their proprietary video formats, VLC Media Player focuses on limitless playback possibilities and openness. In addition to the desktop version, there is now also a variant available for mobile devices.
The extensive features demonstrate the scale that open-source projects can reach and how they can overshadow paid tools. 4K resolution, screen recording, or playing 360-degree clips are all possible with the player. When development on the player began in 1996, the developers were hardly aware of the impact they would have.
Paid updates, limited possibilities for backward compatibility and a lack of alternative customization options: operating systems provide a closed framework that offers little room for flexibility. This makes open-source projects like LINUX all the more important, as their goal is to remain independent at all stages of development. With this principle, the system, which started as a hobby project, excites its users and can be used as a platform for various IT installations.
In 1991, the student Linus Torvalds designed the basic structure, which he developed as an alternative to the MINX operating system. Today, this application boasts the world's largest user base in its field and has long moved from the IT niche to the focus of important tools. Even the New York Stock Exchange relies on LINUX.
Collaborative work triumphs! The five showcased projects impressively demonstrate the fantastic achievements that can result from the creativity and expertise of the open-source community. Instead of costly constraints, the focus is on a shared objective that is both functional and pioneering. It is all the more important for more companies and organizations to embrace the sustainability and diversity of open source.