also...See also our open-source software pledge!
open-source softwareHere at Quadra-Tec, we are strong supporters of open-source software. This includes full-scale operating systems (GNU/Unix - BSD, Linux, etc.) and smaller, more simple applications (WINE, OpenOffice.org, MySQL, PHP, etc).
The basic open-source software idea (opposed to proprietary software) is relatively simple. When programmers can read, redistribute, and modify the source code for a piece of software, that software evolves much more rapidly than proprietary software. Programmers from all around the world can freely read, document, modify, and improve the code. As a result of this, the software recieves bug fixes, performance improvements, and new features at an astonishing speed.
Let's create a theoretical situation to demonstrate how advantageous programming open-source is; we'll use a game for the example. Let's say, for instance, you have five programmers. One in Chicago, one in London, one in Philadelphia, one in Los Angeles, and one in Tokyo. Each of these people has their respective strong suits (as we all do). One is very good at creating 3D environments; one is an economic genius; one isn't a programmer at all and went to college for engineering - he has a job with the government, drawing out layouts for whole towns; one enjoys writing the very low-level code in game engines; and one (I can relate to this one) is obsessive-compulsive; he can't stand code that isn't running at maximum efficiency. One of these programmers plays SimCity and comes up with ideas on how it could be improved, but can't do anything about it, because SimCity is a proprietary game. So, he posts his idea to improve it on the Internet.
It takes a while for these things to circulate the Internet, so it remains quiet for a while. In the meantime, he designs and begins coding the basic engine for the game. After a little while, the engineer finds the project, and decides to give his input (how long it takes for a fire house or hospital to respond to any alarm, given the distance; things like that). With this input, the original programmer is able to vastly improve these aspects of the game work; the engineering major didn't even have to be a programmer to give positive input to the project. Now the economic genius finds the project, and (because it's open-source) is able to simply download the code and modify the economic code in the engine, then send it back to the original programmer. Then the obsessive-compulsive one comes into the project, and optimizes all the code to run much faster, improving all players' gaming experience.
Hence, LinCity was born. Now, this project sits and just gets minor improvements for a couple years. And then the 3D engine programmer goes off to college, but (like most programmers) already knows quite a bit about what he does. In his offtime, he finds the LinCity project, plays it, and finds it fun, except for one problem. The graphics are so out-of-date; the game's practically running in a console. So he downloads the code and, just working on it in his offtime, writes up a shiny brand-new 3D graphics engine for it. Hence, LinCity-NG was born.
Granted, this example is simplified down considerably (real-world open source projects are far more complicated, with far more than five programmers - this is only loosely based on how LinCity really developed). However, at Quadra-Tec, we see and understand the heavy advantage provided by programming open-source. We use open-source software on our own computers every day - a number of us run Linux or another Unix variant - these members of the team also make use of WINE. We all use OpenOffice.org for our office suite needs. Our servers run a Linux operating system, and Apache web server with PHP scripting language, and the MySQL database subsystem.
Now, we also understand that for open-source software to work, its capable users need to give back to the community. So whenever we're not working hard creating for a client, we're working on one of the projects listed at the left.