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What Do Open Source Developers Do?

G. Wiesen
G. Wiesen

The exact duties and responsibilities of open source developers can vary depending on the particular type of software being developed and the developers' involvement with a project. In general, however, most developers create and edit code that is used to create computer software. They also typically examine code they have created, or that was created by someone else, to perform error and bug checking and document changes or corrections as needed. Since this work is done on open source software, these developers can utilize the oversight of other developers and users to ensure more precise code is created.

Open source developers are software programmers who work on open source projects, rather than more common closed source software. These open source programs are typically created under some form of public license, which usually allows other programmers and software users to use and alter the software in any way they wish. This means that such programs are not often developed for commercial profit, especially since many open source licenses even allow other users to sell the software if they desire. Regardless of this open source format, however, open source developers usually perform many of the same tasks as other software developers.

Woman with hand on her hip
Woman with hand on her hip

The duties of open source developers often begin with the creation of an overall plan for a particular program. While this is not necessarily an essential step, it can make the rest of the programming and development of software simpler. These developers then typically begin creating the code for a program, either individually or as part of a larger team. This code can be used to create a number of different aspects of a particular software program, including the basic procedures and executable actions the software can take, the user interface for the program, and any secondary functions the program may have.

Open source developers then typically go through a great deal of error or bug finding and correcting through testing of the software. This stage of development can be quite time-consuming, but better ensures that the release version of a program is as stable and free of bugs as possible. Since open source developers can work with a number of other developers, documentation of errors and fixes can be an essential part of such development. All of these procedures are typically utilized in mainstream software development as well, and open source development can be a great form of practice for people interested in commercial programming.

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