6 popular open source applications you might not know are open source.

By | December 1, 2016

There are many applications that are awesome and are widely used by many people today that they do not know are free and open-source software or apps (FOSS). One of the common misconceptions about FOSS is that it is not good enough for the general public (only for hackers and programmers). So to disprove this myth (as I have and would always gladly do) I have created a list of FOSS already used by people who have bad feelings toward FOSS.

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#1. Android 

With the number of android devices out there today it would be difficult for anybody to be ignorant of the power of the mobile operating system (OS) from Google. The OS that powers millions of phones, tablet, watches, TV, and even cars among others. In fact, it is the largest installed base of all operating system of any kind. Android is based on the Linux kernel and its code is open. This openness offers tech companies opportunities to combine a low cost and customizable OS with high tech devices. And also it creates an avenue for android developers to make money from developing apps. The fact that millions of android apps are uploaded to the Google play store (the official android app repository) alone, with billions of annual downloads testifies to the success of this open-source software.

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#2. Wikipedia

Wikipedia is the free and open-source internet/digital encyclopedia that almost everybody that has done any search on the internet would have come in contact with. If you do a web search on Google a Wikipedia link is among the first ten result queries returned by the search engine. The name “Wikipedia” is a wordplay combination of the phrases ‘wiki’ and encyclopedia’. It has become the most popular internet reference work in more than 250 languages. Wikipedia embodies the spirit of open source. Its articles are entered and edited by the public. It s more of a living encyclopedia as entries are constantly being updated and to make it interesting multimedia (videos, pictures, and the likes) features can also be incorporated into articles. Wikipedia solves a lot of hassles relating access to needed information at the right time. First and foremost, it saves the cost of having to buy physical paper encyclopedia (that usually come in series) on the part of the consumer and the cost of producing and shipping large copies of paper encyclopedia on the part of the producers. Users could connect to the internet and access articles that are being updated constantly without first installing Wikipedia on their device. Wikipedia has become larger and with better qualities than the likes of Encyclopedia Britannica – the database now contains more than 25 times as many articles. All these happened without any corporation invested millions of dollars in advertisement and marketing; it happened seemingly on its own by the power of FOSS.

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#3. WordPress

WordPress is a very attractive content management system (CMS) or blog software out there. It is very user-friendly, that’s why it is of interest to both professional and newbie bloggers and web designers. It is very customizable, you can use it for any type of website you wish ranging from blogs, vlogs, to full-fledged website. Many big agencies that use WordPress include TechCrunch, The New Yorker, BBC America, etc. This is made possible by large and robust size of its community of developers who are responsible for creating plugins, written and translated documentation and designed many themes to customize the look. Though there are many other CMS, WordPress stands out and have been living up to its reputation. Because of the retinue of add-ons, WordPress is suitable for the development of even complicated websites. In fact, most web hosting companies offer WordPress hosting and installation options. The success of WordPress is another testimony to the power of FOSS where there are many different people tweaking, extending and improving shared code.


#4. Python

For many venturing into the programming world today, python seems to be the common option. Why? Because of its highly praised and cherished feature of being readable. That is python codes can easily be understandable for newbie programmers. A few lines of python codes can be used to perform a function that would have required more codes in programming languages like C++ and Java. Another feature I see in python, that I like, is the ease of downloading and installing python – with its relatively small size interpreter you can begin programming in little or no time. Python powers and have been used to develop applications and websites like Youtube, Quora, Instagram, Dropbox, etc. CPython is the default and most widely used implementation of the programming language. It is responsible for the interpretation of the python codes that you write into machine codes that is understandable by the computer. CPython is free and open-source software. Like every FOSS, has a community-driven development model.

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#5. VLC

VLC is a cross-platform free and open-source media player and streaming media server application that has become the standard for a media player used by many. This is arising from the fact that it is easy to install and use. It is a standard alternative for Linux and Android. The most important feature that attracts me to VLC is a large number of media file formats it can play (so I have it on my Linux and android devices).

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And also It has a way of amplifying the sound output of videos and music being played. Among other functions VLC can also be used for converting media files from some format to the other and streaming media files on a network.

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#6. Mozilla Firefox

Mozilla Firefox browser is another FOSS that is very common among internet users. It attracts users that take browsing speed into cognizance because it is a very fast browser. Right from time, it has always been the default browser for many window users, even when Microsoft’s own internet explorer is preloaded and shipped with the Windows operating system. But for most Linux distros (like Ubuntu) Firefox is the default browser. One result for this, apart from the speed issue mentioned earlier, is that many internet users trust their privacy and Firefox guarantees it.

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Firefox is seen as the true user-friendly open-source browser. Not just an open-source browser, Firefox is also cross-platform – meaning you can install it on different operating systems like Linux, windows, and android.

With this list, you should be thankful for Free and open-source software and its developers for producing very useful apps. And it is good enough to convince you to continue to use free and open-source software. This list is not exhaustive though as there are many other useful FOSS out there that many don’t know are FOSS. If you think there are any other that are suppose to be in this list please feel free to add and tell us why using the comment section below.

Happy Linux’NG!


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