FLOSS means free/libre & open-source software. Free/libre means that your software (includes computer operating-system [OS], programs, applications/apps, plug-ins, and more) are free/libre to use and to redistribute. It came from the spirit of the free software philosophy—commonly licensed under open license (likes GNU Public License, MIT License, Creative Commons, etc.).
The open-source software concept is about the open development (or even deployment) of the software. In short, many people name it as an open-source thing instead of the open-source software (OSS) development.
The source code of the software provides openly for everyone (can be learned, can be modified, or even can be redistributed under various open licenses). FLOSS is all about the community, everyone can enjoy the benefits and can contribute in any kind of shapes. Here is my personal journey about the FLOSS experience.
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I firstly met an operating-system based on Linux kernel when I was teenager and met my cousin around 2003 in his home—when I was learned to compute at the beginning using his PC. He showed me up an Indonesian Linux magazine at the time (InfoLINUX) with a couple CDs (as its bonus).
The first CD bonus was a bootable Linux OS. It was a Mandrake Linux 8.2 (the popular French Linux distribution). I attracted at the first sight—when I still learning DOS-based office apps at school (keyboard days). In that time, other pop Linux systems like Knoppix (a popular German distribution after SüSE) and other major distributions have their own glory days.
By the way, Linux is the clone of UNIX/Unix with the GNU (GNU’s Not Unix) utilities, and BSDs (Berkeley Software Distribution[s]) are derived from Unix directly. Linux is a kernel of an OS. Differ to BSDs, Linux + bunch apps named an OS called distribution (another term of Linux distribution is distro). For more details about all Linux distros (and also BSDs too), please visit DistroWatch.com.
Mandrake has been changed to Mandriva, but the development ended in 2011, then forked to Mageia in 2010. Another development was OpenMandriva (Russian-based Linux) in 2012.
After my Mom, a great single fighter (my Dad died in 1408 Hijri)—proud to be their son, bought me a computer as a gift—may Allah Protect & Preserve her, then I tried various Linux distros (like Slackware, Fedora—the open-source project supported by Red Hat Inc., openSUSE—the open-source project by SüSE, etc.) and BSD Unix family (FreeBSD, OpenBSD, and macOS—it is a derivative of BSD Darwin).
SüSE Linux is awesome before I finished my senior high school study. But later, I use Slackware & OpenBSD/FreeBSD. I still have a prolong engagement with Slackware & BSDs than others. Actually, BSDs (Darwin—an Apple’s macOS—& FreeBSD) used on a daily basis more at current for various office tasks. But, any opportunities around us today, any access tools can be used to, so I still challenging myself with Slackware, FreeBSD or OpenBSD, and/or other FLOSS systems—on other machines (virtually or natively).
Unix inspired others (BSD, Linux kernel-based)
Unix (or UNIX; derived from AT&T Unix) created and developed by Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie, and others, at the Bell Labs research center. Ken & Dennis are the founder of C programming language, the mother-tongue of common computer languages today. Yes, Unix is based on pure C, and the philosophy development is simply based on POSIX standardization.
Time flies, many people or organizations created the derivative and/or the clone of Unix. From Berkeley, we knew Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD), then released the core of FreeBSD, Darwin (the base of the first OS X/macOS), NetBSD/OpenBSD, and others. One of the Linux distros that following the way of Unix is Slackware.
Long journey with Linux
Although the father of Linux, Linus Benedict Torvalds (Linux Torvalds, Finnish computer scientist—born at Finland, lives in the US), uses Fedora for years, I still do not have a reason to leave Slackware. Patrick Volkerding (PV) built Slackware in his simply awesome paradigm that brought to you by a Linux distro with its traditionally standardization concept. Since 1993, when Ian Murdoc still loving his Debian, PV never change mostly things in Slackware till today, from installation procedures to upgrading the system session. For stable to current versions, PV maintains all stuffs more than other distros that bring LTS (long-term-service) concept. On Slackware, we learned knowing the Linux-based system deeply. Thank you, PV.
The Slackware community in Indonesia called Komunitas Slackware Indonesia (Indonesian: Indonesian Slackware community), that covered on Planet Slackware Indonesia, is the best Linux community that I ever joined. You can keep in touch with them via their Google group (id-slackware) or Telegram group (Slackware-ID).
The seniors in Indonesian Slackware community, like Mr. Willy Sudiarto Rahardjo (SlackBlogs), Mr. Widya Walesa, other seniors, and other Slackware users, are awesome. Likes Slackware communities around the world, the community is amazing.
Even if you familiar with English or international communities, do not hesitate to make a conversation via official Slackware mailing list, IRC, and—sure still active until today—in Facebook and Linux Questions (LQ) forum (you can meet PV there).
The simplicity of BSDs
A couple years ago, there are BSD communities in Indonesian: id-openbsd and id-freebsd (at Yahoo! mailing lists). I never forget the seniors, like Mr. Jim Geovedi and others from; they teach me how to fish in many great ways. FreeBSD with GNOME is my first desktop, but later the system with KDE is fantastically awesome. Not many BSDs that I ever used, but FreeBSD and OpenBSD are always best on my computer. For many reasons, I suggest everyone whoever want to use the most secure open-source operating-system called OpenBSD—the core development team lead by Theo de Raadt.
Currently, the most active Indonesian BSD community is Komunitas BelajarFreeBSD Indonesia that coordinated by Mr. Andy Hidayat. Maa shaa’ Allah, thank you very much to him. BSD Unix systems are fun and robust, and Apple Inc. developed ones based on BSD Darwin called macOS (previously known as OS X). Really big thanks to Steve Jobs and his company that released macOS as open-source.
The FLOSS communities serve anyone with patience and/or give great insights for every BSD/Linux users. By Allah’s Hand, they made the communities alive and made sense that BSD/Linux is really easy for use. All issues are answered well—walhamdulillah. Thank you, thank you, thank you very much to them—the communities.
So, what distro(s) or BSD(s) do I use on a daily basis at current? As I said, for various office needs, I use BSD Darwin-based and Red Hat-based (likes CentOS or Fedora). But, I still using Slackware (current version) and FreeBSD/OpenBSD at mostly of the time. Yes, we don’t use Microsoft Windows—don’t hate Windows, but just don’t use it.
The journey of my open-source experience is not stopping there. I felt in good sense when using KDE as the desktop environment on any kind of BSD/Linux systems. More than a decade, I use KDE. Many desktops offered in the open-source world, like GNOME, XFCE, and some more.
KDE is “a great dynamical desktop technology”. It is a flexible software compilation based on Qt software. If you use KDE or even develop/deploy the source-code of KDE apps, you will learn Qt too. Qt itself actually a cross-platform C++ framework. By means, on many platforms, you can develop a software on a platform and it will run on the other platforms—in shaa’ Allah.
Time after time, from the Trolltech company in Norway, ever with the giant of Nokia in Finland, then independently operated after Digia, Qt being bigger to cover various needs. From embedded & mobile devices, IoT, to self-driving-car these days, Qt provides various services. Big thanks to Haavard Nord and Eirik Chambe-Eng, the co-founders of Qt.
One of the reasons that I like KDE/Qt and being addictive is not only about the technology behind, but also about the community, the people. Likes mostly other open-source projects, the key success of the development is all about the people with various contributions.
One of the inspiring people about KDE/Qt is Mr. Ariya Hidayat, Ph.D. (ariya.io). He wrote any kind of programming tutorials based on Qt or KDE in InfoLINUX magazine and/or on his personal blog. One of the his popular masterpiece is a simply calculator based on Qt called SpeedCrunch. Although he focus on web technology at current (see his awesome PhantomJS & Esprima), he always known-popular as one of KDE legends.
KDE is always awesome. KDE is not only about technology, but also the community. Likes other KDE communities across the Globe, you will find another KDE community, including in Indonesia called Indonesian KDE Community (KDE-ID). Currently, KDE-ID actively in a Telegram group or even in Facebook, people are welcome to join the chat and share every KDE stuffs there.
“KDE is collaborative, open, and privacy aware. With a vast scope of interesting projects after 22 years, we continue to push the boundaries of what is possible and fun.”
—Jonathan Riddel, KDE neon Leader, KDE Senior
I have a plan to the next open-source trip, may be for the Planet GNOME or other popular projects in the U.S. (have a plan to use FreeBSD only, or even CentOS/Fedora too?). Anything will be happened by His Hand—Allahu A’lam. I like the Fedora-KDE too and the insights by Danie Vrátil; for FreeBSD-KDE, we get a lot of fun stories by Adriaan de Groot. Yup, KDE, I can not leave the KDE’s Planet till today.
Why open-source (FLOSS)
The open-source communities are fantastic. They are always believe in sharing & openness. They share code freely, being volunteer for any kind of open-source events, they born to code (for humanity). They contribute to the projects is not for money, mostly have the motivation to make a better world with technology. They believe in it.
Open-source is not only about the licenses, but importantly about the community. From the community, many developers born and giving very great support to push the technology-based start-ups business successfully across the globe these days.
In the other word, the open-source people are the part of the great-unicorn start-ups these days. And sure, mostly in international big tech companies today, that popular build in Silicon Valley, from the founders (and co-founders) to the employees, are taken from and/or being part of the open-source world.
Your language programming, from Python, Ruby on Rails, PHP, and many more, are develop in open-source models. Your mobile systems maybe mostly are open-sourced too.
The founders/developers learn from the open-source communities & resources, and mostly give feedback back to the communities in various contributions. Everyone can contribute, everyone can use. By Allah’s Hand, we can not imagine how the world today without the open-source movement.
Concern on security issues
Our technology needs any aspects of security, and the open-source communities provide it very well. In the open-source world, your privacy, your security, many more that make you safely use the products, are top priorities. Because the development/deployment is wide open, when a bug or a security hole found, anyone can patch it soon, then the new updates will be released as fast as possible.
The open-source communities is the way for any kind of start-ups these days. Mostly the start-up developers are known very well with the open-source stuffs. I am passionate volunteer to give various little insights for Indonesian local start-up, the open the brainstorming or discussion in various topics are always welcome. For start-up founders, let’s discuss at Y Combinators, Clarity, and Tech in Asia. I need to meet many talents too at Bitbucket and dev.to. You can keep in touch with me via these directories/pages at below, or simply call me directly.
- Geraspora (Jerman): @latif.
- KDE: Phabricator, Community Wiki, Community Forums, UserBase (old), and WikiToLearn.
- Python Package Index (PyPI).
- Quora: bahasa Indonesia, bahasa Inggris.
You can also simply visit my Tools page—a bunch of personal academical collection mostly in open-source boxes. May Allah Grant us Tawfeeq!