Month: October 2018

Should You Choose Open Source or Proprietary Software

Should You Choose Open Source or Proprietary Software

By definition, a computer is an electronic device that processes data using stored instruction, or more commonly software. Though written in plain text (source code), the programs are compiled so as to be put into a form (object code) that you computer would easily understand.

Often, software developers ship their programs in the object code form. Without the strenuous task of reverse engineering, it would be nearly impossible to modify software as an end-user.

Should you choose open source or proprietary software?  Let’s look at the arguments both for and against.

Open Source Software

More and more developers are releasing their software’s source code to the world. The licensing of open source software – usually the BSD or GNU General Public License – allows other developers around the world to modify the software by improving existing features, removal of bugs, addition of new features or even distribution as a new software.

There are many softwares and platforms that employ open source distribution, including Android, many versions of Linux, MySQL, Gimp and Mozilla Firefox, just to name a few.

Benefits of open-source software include:
– In most cases, open source software is free. It does however require an on going support from users
– With their code being crowd sourced, these softwares tend to be on the bleeding-edge of technology
– Having many developers working on the project allows for accountability and identification of security gaps in record time. These are then quickly resolved.

Closed Source Software

More commonly referred to as proprietary software, closed source software belongs to an individual or company. Only they have the right to modify the source code. As such, proprietary software’s source code remains unavailable to those outside the software company.

Licenses for such software also prohibit any alteration of the software, just in case one was able to reverse engineer the software. All intellectual property rights belong to the developer. Before installation, this software will usually require the end-user to agree to legally binding terms. Breaching of terms could lead to prosecution.

Examples of closed-source software platforms and softwares include Microsoft’s Windows, Adobe Photoshop and McAfee antivirus.

Benefits of closed-source software include:
– Most if not all proprietary software developers provide customer support.
– Softwares from the same developer are likely to be compatible with each other.
– By buying and agreeing to the license terms, end-users can seek legal redress if the software does not perform as promised by the developer.
– Closed-source softwares are targeted at solving particular business needs

Which one should you choose?

This is an age-old debate that has no foreseeable end in sight. It all boils down to what is convenient for you.

Users who prefer a readily available customer service would opt for proprietary software. This is not to say that issues raised on open source software are never solved. There are large online communities and forums that continually work on these issues.

If budget is a factor, then open source is the way to go. A majority of open source softwares are free. Freedom also comes in the form of no strict obligatory license requirements.

Finally, the pace at which bugs are fixed or patches are created is also important. Each software category is quite fast in this regard. User adoption of the patches however remains of great concern due to slow uptake even solutions exist.

Why Use Open Source Software

Why Use Open Source Software

Open source software has always been a huge part of the IT sector and it is has slowly made its way into the business community as well.  You can find open source applications running almost everywhere.  But as a business why use open source software?  There are many reasons to use open source software and we’re going to have a look at them.

Here is a list of the advantages of having open source software that you might consider looking into:

Saving Money

In business the bottom line is everything, and most open source software is either free or very low cost.  You are not required to pay per users and collectively businesses save somewhere in the neighborhood of $60 billion per year.  You can lower your operating costs, and get a better virtual private server, and for small companies software licenses can get pricey.  You can generally, though not always, use open source software on older hardware extending the life of your computer systems as well.

It’s Flexible to Use

Open source software doesn’t lock you in to a particular vendor.  It can be developed by anyone as long as there is code to work with.  If the company you bought software from goes out of business you aren’t left in the lurch.  Open source comes with open standards that are available to everybody, giving you more flexibility to use a number of different programs that can work together.  There is less waiting for functionalities to be added and when they are added it won’t end up costing you for upgrades.

It is Incredibly Reliable

Open source software uses programmers from all over the world, these programs are constantly developing as thousands of people work on them.  This gives you plenty of eyes to spot a bug in the programming and get it fixed.  The user ends up with better quality software, here’s a real world example.  WordPress is an open source program and nearly a third of the website on the internet today are built using this content management system.  How is that for reliable.

Licensing is Easy

Open source software leaves behind the headache of buying and maintaining complicated licenses.  You don’t need to implement any anti—piracy procedures in your organization.  No worrying about serial numbers or activating products, you simply install the software and start using it.

All of these reasons are why companies and governments around the world are switching to open source software rather than expensive proprietary software to get the job done.  However before you venture down this road, understand exactly what you need first.  While open source is a great solution, it doesn’t work for every situation.