May 14, 2021

LPPS 4070: Final Reflection

I started this semester with a decent amount of knowledge of open-source, but I was only really aware of the software industry and did not think that open-source was broadly applicable outside of that field. The best part of this class in my opinion were the blog posts and how we were encouraged to not only focus on open-source solution, but to compare and contrast them to traditional IP-oriented solutions to fully examine the strengths and weaknesses of the open-source philosophy. I also discovered instances where an open-source approach was mixed with a proprietary approach to get the “best of both worlds”, at least in theory. An example of this was in my last blog post where I talked about Oracle’s GraalVM software.

I had never heard of ESGs before taking this class and it opened my eyes to an entirely new way of thinking of private industry and government, where a collaborative an open environment for ideas to spread can really make a positive impact on society. Realizing that open-source was not just a type of software license, but an entire model for thinking about sharing information was a mental breakthrough for me. I now have a much greater appreciation for the movement and I understand how we can apply it to help solve a wide range of problems.

The class project involving building hardware for an open-source water quality monitor showed me the potential limitations of open-source, where insufficient or unclear documentation can really make or break a product. I had not really placed a high emphasis on documentation before, since as a software engineer I prefer creating products, but I gained a much greater appreciation for documentation after taking this class. Since I plan to contribute to open-source software projects after graduating, I will take documentation much more seriously because it makes a massive difference in the quality of a project. Open-source should be for everyone, and good documentation helps make this possible.

© Samarth Kishor 2020

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