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Open source is changing the way businesses, both large and small, function. Online communities are coming together like never before to promote the use of open source. It is in fact become a mass movement of sorts. Economic Times speaks to Viral Shah, CEO, Julia to understand why Open Source has become so popular.

Economic Times: What really is Open Source software and other than the fact that it is free, why is it so popular?
Viral Shah: By strict definition, open source software is basically a software wherein a copyright holder provides the right to study, change and distribute the software to anyone and for any purpose.

But, open source is really not about getting a great software for free, its true power lies in the philosophy behind it- collaboration.

More minds can enhance a product than one mind or one company. Open source collaboration has been around from decades, but due to the ever growing number of startups and their budget constraints, it is becoming more mainstream than ever.

On a positive note, startups too have given back to the open source community by opening up some of their core products. Tech behemoths like Google, Facebook and others have made significant contributions to the open source world.

Economic Times: How does one exactly make money with Open Source? 
Viral Shah: There are a lot of ways that one can make money from open source software — offering training, targeted ads, customisation for certain additional functionalities and offering paid support, among others.

“Someone using a software needs to have support for it. A lot of it used to be support driven, consulting driven. But increasingly we are seeing open source business models follow the software-asa-service (SaaS) model. New models will definitely emerge,” said Viral Shah, CEO of open source language Julia.

Economic Times: Why give something away for free? 
Viral Shah: Again, this goes back to the idea of open collaboration. A product gets better with more contributors than just a few of them. A large community gets built around a certain product, which helps it gain validation and feedback from a large audience. The beauty lies in seeing the product get better and better with contributions from a large vibrant set of users.

[“Source-economictimes”]