I used to use proprietary software at my work for a long time. But now I have switched to open-source software for most of my work. During my transition, I saw many significant Advantages Of Open-Source Software.
People often misunderstood free software and open-source software. Free software is not always open-source whereas open-source software source code is always open to everybody. This means anyone can grab that source code and use it to meet specific requirements. This brings significant advantages in the long run.
Open-source software brings transparency, flexibility, reliability, enhanced security, great community support, and most importantly cost minimization. It has many other advantages that help a business to grow quickly and reliably. Let’s break it down and see what open-source software offers.
What Is Open-Source Software?
Every software has its distinctive source code. Source code is the collection of code written by a programmer. This code allows a software program to work as intended. Software that is distributed with the source code is called open-source software.
The open-source code is publicly available to check, modify, or redistribute under the proper license. This open nature allows users to track what an application is doing with the data. Whereas closed-source software does not allow users to see the source code and anything the software is doing under the hood.
Users cannot tell whether the software is collecting sensitive data or not. And also users are not allowed to access the source code and change the code according to their needs.
Is Open-Source Better Than Proprietary?
Long story short, there is no definitive answer to this question. But for the most part, open-source software (OSS) performs better than proprietary software.
Proprietary software is often licensed or sold under a commercial license for a certain price in the market. In terms of flexibility, proprietary software doesn’t offer much. As the software source code is not publicly accessible, people do not know what it does with the data. To run this software, people need to purchase a valid license. Proprietary commercial software often prices too high to compensate for the development cost.
Commercial software has a small development team working endlessly and investing countless hours to achieve the final product. It can be developed by an individual, group, or organization to meet a list of requirements and sell it to regain its cost and make a profit.
As the development team is small, bug fixes are often delayed which increases security issues.
On the other hand, open-source software source code is publicly available. This allows users to see the code, modify it if necessary, and improve it. Open-source projects allow thousands of developers to contribute code to improve the software and fulfill each other’s needs.
These contributions help a project grow faster and make it feature-rich. The big advantage is, that people know what the software is doing with the data. As the source code is open, vulnerabilities often get fixed more quickly than proprietary software.
Open-source software is also free to use. This helps minimize the cost and increase productivity. This is why 100% of the world’s top 500 supercomputers run on Linux and over 90% of all cloud infrastructure operates on Linux.
What Are The Advantages Of Open-Source Software?
Open-source software is getting huge attention in the field of IT in recent years. Many business enterprises are implementing open-source software for its biggest advantage of being free to use. This significantly reduces the costs.
Open-source software allows users to modify the source code to meet certain requirements rather than building it from scratch. This can save a significant amount of time and effort to move forward.
Open-source software comes with many advantages and here are the top 15 advantages Of Open-Source Software.
OSS Is Cost-Effective
This is one of the biggest advantages of open-source software. Open-source software often comes free of charge or cheaper than its proprietary counterpart. You don’t need to buy any license and it has no renewal headache for the most part. This allows a significant amount of cost reduction. Nevertheless, the quality is not compromised.
Businesses with tight budgets can easily utilize this software to reduce the cost and invest the savings to develop the other aspects of the business.
Most open-source software also requires less power and hardware resources to operate. This allows businesses to save on power and hardware costs. Resulting in a significant amount of cost-saving.
Transparent To Its Users
Transparency is one of the biggest reasons people use open-source software. The open nature of the source code allows users to see through the code and know what it is doing with the data. Closed-source software does not allow that.
Open-source software is transparent with its code. This increases user trust and adoption of the software. As the source code is publicly available, people can easily trust the software and implement it in their businesses.
People can also modify the code according to their needs, use it, and redistribute it under the same license.
Offers Much More Flexibility
Flexibility is a big issue for a business to grow. Proprietary software reduces flexibility by forcing users to accept certain terms and conditions of use. Whereas open-source software allows users to freely use the software.
You can use the software as it is or modify it to meet your requirements. You can even fork any open-source project, change it, and redistribute it with a different name. This brings flexibility to anyone or any business.
This kind of flexibility encourages thousands of developers to create groundbreaking solutions to help the community.
OSS Is Reliable For The Future
Open-source software brings reliability as it is developed by many expert developers. Anybody can contribute to any open-source project. This helps fix bugs, add features, identify flaws, and increase reliability.
Fatal security flaws can be dangerous for a business. As many expert developers keep their eyes on the code, these flaws get fixed very quickly.
If you want special changes to the software, you can always grab the source code and make your changes. You can even fork and start a new project to achieve your own goal with the help of others. All of these increase reliability.
It Offers Enhanced Security
Open-source software provides better security than proprietary software. Proprietary software has limited group members. This limitation causes delays in bug fixing and increases security threats. OSS does not have this limitation. As thousands of highly expert developers keep their eyes on the code, OSS gets fixed in no time. This ensures enhanced security.
OSS Is Always Available For You
If you are a small business owner or a general user who uses open-source software daily, you don’t need to worry about the availability of that software in the future. This is a big advantage. Proprietary software companies may change their company direction and their product lineup and discontinue any software at any time.
This will cause serious problems for the users. Open-source on the other hand remains open once it hits GitHub. Even if the license gets changed, you can still access the last version and continue from there. You don’t completely lose access thus giving you sustainability in the future.
It Brings Sustainability In The Long Run
OSS provides sustainability in the long run. OSS is continuously developing, growing, and improving. Open source promotes knowledge and brings people’s collaboration to the next level.
This helps many open-source projects to grow big and develop competence in the market. It also helps students to play with codes without any restrictions. Making themselves ready to serve soon.
You Can Scale It According To Your Needs
Open-source software can be scaled up or down to maintain optimal performance.
Businesses of all sizes can utilize open-source software according to their needs. Clustering multiple computers, symmetric multiprocessing of threads, and load balancing can easily be done through open-source software.
This scalability improves cost efficiency and provides consistent performance to maintain a balanced workload.
OSS Gives You The Ability To Start Small
Open-source software gives you the ability to start small. If your business is currently running proprietary software and you want to switch to open-source software for cost-saving, you can implement open-source software at a very small level.
This will help you to slowly make the transition without hampering the productivity of your business. And if you are starting a new business, you can also try open-source software at a small level and see where it fits the most. This way you can minimize the cost and properly maintain your resources.
It Helps You To Increase Productivity
Open-source software helps you to increase the productivity of your business. There is much open-source productivity software available that helps you to manage your timeframe more efficiently. This reduces overall cost and time and increases productivity.
You can easily collab with your team members, share docs, and business discussions, manage time schedules and meetings, and many more. All can be done free of cost by using open-source software.
OSS Prevents You From Vendor Lock-in
Vendor lock-in is a big issue for proprietary software. You have no access to the source code. You cannot change or add features to the software to meet certain requirements.
If you want any features or bug fixes, you have to wait for an update from the vendor. It is not guaranteed that they will implement any certain features.
You have to wait for that feature or you will never get it anyway. Open-source software doesn’t hold you back. If you have the knowledge or a team of developers, you can grab the source code, create your version, and use it freely with no restrictions.
Open-source software gives you freedom from vendor lock-in.
OSS Brings Agility To Your Business
Who doesn’t want to win the competition, right? Moving forward quickly is always helpful for any business. Open-source software provides agility to grow bigger.
Open-source software offers multiple methods of solving a single problem. This gives you flexibility, and cost efficiency, preventing you from vendor lock-in, and freedom of choice.
Furthermore, open-source software is continuously developing and being upgraded by the open-source community.
It Offers A Great Community Support
The open-source community is one of the biggest advantages of using open-source software. As I am using open-source software for a decent amount of time, I have found that often time open-source software gets bugs fixed more than its proprietary counterpart.
This is because thousands of developers are constantly checking the code and fixing bugs found by users. Proprietary software on the other hand cannot do this due to the lack of developers, money, and time. They have to decide where to invest money to maximize profit. This increases vulnerability and security threats.
OSS Is Widely Used By Many
Open-source software is being widely used for decades now. From desktop computers to supercomputers and cloud servers, people are using Linux and other open-source software daily. It is fast, secure, and uses fewer hardware resources.
This is why open-source software is getting more popular day by day. This popularity brings developers to contribute to many open-source projects to keep the wheel spinning.
OSS Attracts Developers To Involve
Open-source projects are the collaboration of many intelligent developers across the globe. People help each other by sharing ideas, codes, bug fixes, and making donations. It is the beauty of OSS. This open collaboration attracts developers to contribute to OSS projects.
This builds a great community to help each other in a very productive way and grow projects together.
Are There Any Disadvantages Of Open-Source Software?
Everything in this world has its respective pros and cons. OSS is no exception. Open-source software is great but it has some caveats. People who are absolute beginners, or bound to any eco-system often find OSS hard.
This leads to facing difficulties in day-to-day usage, compatibility Issues, and lack of support. You may face the following disadvantages if you want to switch.
May Find Difficulty In Use
Open-source software projects are the collaboration of many developers across the globe. There are big projects that are well-documented and maintained in a regular manner. But many small projects may not have good documentation for absolute beginners.
Due to the lack of enough project members, many OSS projects are not maintained regularly. This leads users to face difficulty to implement the software.
Small Projects Might Have Compatibility Issues
Not all open-source software is maintained equally. Big projects are constantly being updated whereas many small projects do not get updated very frequently. This inconsistency creates compatibility issues.
To mitigate this problem, you should avoid these types of projects and only use the software that is maintained regularly.
May Face Lack Of Support
The lack of support doesn’t mean you cannot get support for your problem. You can get support from the open-source community and they are great. But The real problem is you cannot get support from a professional who is assigned to help.
If you run your business with open-source software and face problems, you cannot get instant help from the developer. You need some skills to search online, communicate with people through forums, make discussions, and understand the findings to solve the problem.
Comes With No Warranty
When you purchase proprietary software, you can get support from the developer as they offer a warranty on their products as part of a standard license agreement. This is because they fully control the product and its underlying code.
OSS on the other hand does not work that way. As the source code is open, anyone can make changes to the code. And the maintainer is not bound to any terms and conditions with the user. You can use the software the way it is or you can make your own changes to make it work for you.
Hidden Costs Are True
It is true that OSS is cost-effective but there are some hidden costs you may find when implementing it. You might need to –
- Learn completely different software to do the same work.
- Need to train employees.
- Some proprietary hardware might not work.
- Might face some hardware not working out of the box.
- And might need to spend a fair bit of time to set up properly.
Every single difficulty will cost money and time. If you face too many difficulties, you should consider rethinking.
Who Should Use Open-Source Software?
This is a very important question. I am honest with you here. OSS is not for everybody. But it is useful for most people. If you have absolutely zero knowledge of how the computer works, OSS is not for you. Or if you work in an environment that needs proprietary software and the ecosystem, OSS is not for you.
People often time take the wrong decision to completely switch from proprietary to open-source software. This is not right. What you can do is, try out different open-source software and see what is working and what is not working. And then step-by-step make the transition to effectively make the switch.
If you have the technical knowledge and you know how to deal with these problems then you can easily start with OSS. Sometimes small problems can create big issues. If you know the proper way of handling it, it won’t cause much of a problem.
OSS is great. I use it for all of my work. It is not that hard to learn new programs if you invest some time. When you see the true potentiality of open-source software, you will not go back to proprietary software anymore. This is how good it is.
As you have read through this far, put a comment down below and share your thoughts about OSS. Do you agree with me or completely disagree? Let me know in the comment section below. And don’t forget to share this article. Until then, have a great day.
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