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Why is the open source community driving innovation in the tech industry? - Intuit Developer Community Blog

March 16, 2020 | Diana De Rose

Why is the open source community driving innovation in the tech industry?

As a developer, you know that open source software can be inspected, modified, or enhanced by anyone. It is the antithesis of proprietary software, where the software is only modifiable by the creator or creators. Examples of proprietary software include Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop.

Advocates for open source software, including Intuit (more on that in a bit), believe it drives innovation in the tech industry. Why? Let’s take a look.

Why innovation is a result of “the open source way”

The movement in software development that embraces open source software is referred to as “the open source way,” which, according to Opensource.com, is a set of principles that came from open source software development models. These principles include transparency, collaboration, release early and often, meritocracy, and community.

Community, though the last principle listed, is the underlying theme. A community is a group of people united by similar values working together for the good of all. The open source software community is connected by their shared passion to solve problems through technology and the belief that the more contributors there are, the better the result. The diversity of ideas, talents, and experience of every contributing developer allows the software to continuously evolve.

This evolution is what innovation is all about—creating a new or improved product by being inspired by others within the community.

The internet is a great example. History.com credits the invention to not one person but to a community of innovators. “The internet was the work of dozens of pioneering scientists, programmers, and engineers who each developed new features and technologies that eventually merged to become the ‘information highway’ we know today.”

Inventors relied on open source technologies, like Linux and Apache, to undergird their innovation.

Today, companies dedicated to open source software are succeeding. TechCrunch reports that Red Hat along with many other open source businesses are being acquired for billions of dollars. More and more businesses are recognizing that open source software is a win-win for themselves and their customers.

Because of this awakening, developers who haven’t yet participated in an open source project may want to start. If you’ve pulled up a repo, were intimidated by the issues tab, and didn’t contribute, then it’s time to overcome your anxiety and join the movement.

Open source projects come with great benefits, including the opportunities to:

  • Work with and meet like-minded people (be a part of a community).
  • Learn from other developers.
  • Offer insights to other developers.

Combine these benefits and you have the perfect recipe for driving innovation in the tech industry.

Intuit’s open source culture

Here at Intuit, we’re building a culture of open source through the principles of the open source way. We value transparency, collaboration, and community and consider them essential to our mission of powering prosperity around the world. At Intuit Developer Group, we work with several 3rd party developers and partners to build apps for QuickBooks Online by leveraging our open source SDKs and sample code that are available for the developer community to use. Developers can modify these tools as needed for their unique applications, or simply use the tools to get a jump start on their app integrations. Together, we can make better, more innovative applications that solve our customer’s problems.

Our open source journey is ongoing, and we’re issuing an open invitation to those who share our commitment. If you enjoy contributing to other people’s projects—breathing new life and meaning into them—as well as making an impact on the software industry as a whole, then you’ll want to consider a career at Intuit.

You can check out our new opensource.intuit.com for details on the open source projects by Intuit employees. You can also read why Ramya Kasaraneni loves being an Intuit Developer as you think about joining our team.

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