Public Source vs Open Source

A few weeks ago I had an interesting conversation on twitter and then on instant messaging about a bit of software that was open sourced. Some thought, and might still do, the new piece of software might not be supported.

There was also recently a good blog post from James Long about how it can be hard to create open source code and then maintain it. Either life gets in the way or another project gets in the way.

I have always had a different view of code to most people. The idea is simple, at least in my head.

Open Source

The idea of Open Source has changed over the years and this has meant the original meaning is not quite right. Open Source has started to have a certain aspect of community involved, from people submitting patches (PRs on Github).

Projects that have been around for a very long time have organically grown some kind of community. These tend to be people who believe in the project or see other people working on it that they get to know. We see meet ups forming as more an more people get involved.

This is best part of be source code! The openness with people and code all wrapped up in one!

However, not all code out in the open will achieve this! (And this is fine, not all pieces of code need to have community. Imagine if every package on NPM had a meet up!?!?).

Public Source

Public source everything that open source has minus all community side of things. A really good example of Public Source is Android. You can see all the code, you derive your own work but want to submit a patch? Well Cryogen might take it but Google, seemingly, don’t care.

Also, most projects on Github probably fall under this category. Especially if the person is a starter and not a maintainer, to use James’ concept.

The thing to remember is that everyone wins when the code is in the public but before you start getting all hung up on “support” from people who have given up the code, and their time, to put it out there remember that open source needs to grow from public source!