Jidaw Systems

Open Source Software OSS - most widely used

28-Apr-2010  - What is the reality of Open Source Software (OSS) to you? A cool, faddish phrase or slogan? The truth is that OSS systems have gained wide public and global acceptance to be viable alternatives to proprietary systems. Created and driven by volunteer networks of programmers, the top choices in several high impact areas of technology are clearly open source. For example, Apache leads comfortably in the Web server space. It is the most widely used web server software on the Internet with a market share that is consistently above 50%.


So how does OSS touch your work or personal life? The reality is that we employ open source in a variety of ways. The following are widely used OSS and their categories.

Internet Applications


The Internet has played a prominent role in the rise of OSS.  Going back into history shows that the Internet was clearly founded on non-proprietary standards and applications through collaborative, community efforts driven by interested individuals and communities of developers. Interestingly free software is a major driver of Internet growth. Here are the Internet giants:

Apache, software driving over 50% of the world's web servers.

Perl - the engine behind most of the "live content" on the World Wide Web

PHP - server side scripting language built into web servers like Apache, used generate pages dynamically

BIND, software providing the DNS (domain name service) for the entire Internet

Sendmail, the most popular and widely used software running on mail servers for email transport on the Internet.


Operating system

The Linux operating system is by far the most widely used open source operating system. Linux, developed by numerous volunteer programmers and companies, is chosen by many for its relatively lower cost, as well as the stability and security of the OS. 60% of all web servers run on Linux operating system. Online retailer, Amazon.com, uses multiple HP Linux enquiries to support online queries and transactions. Servers of Google, the Internet search giant, run on customized versions of Linux.

Though it makes more inroads in the server market, it has entered the desktop arena strongly through the Ubuntu distribution of Linux.


Office suites

At a time it was believed that OSS focused mainly on server and developer-oriented systems. while OSS has had the same impact in the PC office productivity environment, viable alternatives are emerging for the office setting. OSS is now available for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations and office automation. OpenOffice is the most widely used OSS office application suite.



MySQL is the most widely used OSS database management system. Offering full fledged database management features, it is used by a large number of companies and websites like Google, Facebook and Wikipeda for data storage and logging of user data. It is popularly used along with PHP for the development of web applications.


Other Applications

Geographic Information Systems

Compilers for C, C++, other languages

Games applications


Unlike proprietary software, open source software provides one with the freedom to modify existing source code and distribute the modified versions. As mentioned above the most popular open source software include Linux, PHP and MySQL. With open source software, source code is open for anyone to improve upon or add to.

Note that OSS is not perfect but requires strategy for individuals and communities to benefit. However, the driving forces are that open source opportunities exist to contribute code, write documentation and perform other tasks. Furthermore, open source software doesn't come with the excess baggage of million dollar license fees associated with propriety software.


Jide Awe

Jide Awe is the Publisher of Jidaw.com


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May 1, 2010


Samson of Punch, Lagos says:



so educative... i can't imagine how easily i have just been enlightened by this small piece on oss. as an IT journalist, i have been scrambling for info on software related issues. am glad that I've come across this very one.    



28 April, 2010


Tan Akume of Calabar, Cross River  State, Nigeria says:



What an eye opener. I never knew I had been using so much open source. next i want to proceed to software development.   




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