Common Questions on FOSS

There is no single dedicated entity that is responsible for organizing or developing FOSS. Instead, there are a number of organizations like the “Free Software Foundation” (FSF) that has been supporting the free software movement since 1985 and the “Open Source Initiative” (OSI) that has been promoting open source software since 1998.Although the fundamental philosophy of the FSF and OSI movements are different, they share the same space and cooperate on practical grounds like software development, rally against code closure, and stand against software patenting.
The FOSS development model has become possible only after the appearance of the Internet and the communication expansion that has ensued from it. FOSS software can be developed with any methodology and a well know analogy is the cathedral and bazaar, which was first coined by Eric Raymond in 1996 and has been since then widely quoted when the FOSS development model is contrasted with of the proprietary software. Proprietary software development is similar to the way a cathedral is built in the past. Small groups of skilled workers judiciously worked out the design and everything was constructed in a single effort. Once built, the cathedral was complete and little further modification was made. Proprietary Software was traditionally built in a similar fashion.
Once released, the program was considered finished and a little modification was subsequently carried out on it. In contrast, FOSS development is more likened to the organic way a bazaar grows. Initial bazaar traders come, establish their structures, and begin business. Subsequent traders come and establish their own structures, and the bazaar grows in what initially appears to be a chaotic fashion. Traders are concerned primarily with building a minimally functional structure so that they can begin trading. New features are added later as circumstances arise. In a similar fashion, FOSS development starts highly unstructured. Developers release minimal functional code to the public and then modify their programs based on the feedback received from the user community.
Other developers may join later and build upon the existing code. Over time, a fully-fledged operating system or a complete suite of applications develop and expand continuously.As a result, and in contrast to propriety software, FOSS offers the opportunity for a form of knowledge production based on peer collaboration and community-based innovation.