Today, instead of using proprietary software, more people and companies are opting for open source software. So the question is why are people or companies becoming interested in open source software? Besides the free availability of open source software entails, there are several other benefits of using this. In this article, the benefits of using an open source software will be explored.
Meaning of an open source software
A lot of big software vendors in the market including Microsoft are concerned that the source code of their program is not accessible by third parties. The implication of this is that the ability to develop applications and fix detected errors are vested in the hands of specific developers.
This is not so with open source software where everyone has access to the source code of a program. Therefore, anyone who knows how to write code can modify, supplement or enhance such program according to their taste.
Several popular programs such as Firefox or VLC player make use of open source licenses. They function on operating systems such as Windows, Mac,and Linux. Currently, over 300,000 software products have been designed for diverse tasks and purposes.
Is it better using open source software instead of the commercial/proprietary alternatives? In many scenarios, open source programs are better. Below are some of its benefits.
Benefits of using open source software
1 Dynamic development: Some time ago, open source software was not always the favorite. Currently, the tables are turned. Open source software creates opportunities for fresh ideas and innovation much faster than commercial software.
Large companies that understand the benefits of open source projects tend to invest more money in new products. While commercial vendors are of the opinion that open source software is designed for amateurs and does not provide high-quality solutions that can meet all business requirements.
Such is not the case. In big projects, professionals are more involved in such projects and assume active roles in their development. The Linux kernel, PHP, Apache, LogicalDOC, and many others are good examples of such projects. After active discussions in the community, most projects are developed, and essential features are updated quickly.
Simultaneously, we find same errors reoccurring from version to version in proprietary software; a feature many monopolists in the operating systems and professional software market tend to have.
2 The product is independent: Even if the owner goes bankrupt, the product’s development continues. Other factors include:they will be no pressure to use additional software which in most scenarios are very expensive; there is no need to purchase a new version which will be more expansive than the previous one. However, some open source software receives support from a single company, but the challenges are minimal.
Years back, people believed that proprietary software is more secure than open source products; an arguments most private vendors agree with. However, several independent studies have revealed that on an average, it is safer to use open source software than proprietary ones.
There are many reasons responsible for this. For instance, you can only detect several security problems when the codes are directly observed. Members of the open-source community identify and fix such errors quickly within a short period after a new version is released. The reason is that they have direct access to the codes without any limitations. While in proprietary software, such errors can go undetected for years. Sometimes, it appears like they lack the interest in identifying or fixing the errors.
However, we cannot conclude that commercial software is not better because they do not reveal their source code to everyone.
4 Great community of supporters: Most times, open source projects are criticized for having documentation that is far behind the original product. Actually, the development of the product is always ahead of the documentation; however, this process is not revealed.
Detailed descriptions of general features are clearly stated in proprietary products without instructions. While in an open source situation, they have a robust online community ready to assist in providing solutions to difficult problems.
This method is reliable. Reflecting on the problems lots of users experienced with Windows update, many people could not make use of their computers and others developed problems after failing to update; how did Microsoft react to this? They were ignorant and provided no solution to assist users that were affected.
With open source, such situations do not exist. You can always rely on the assistance of professionals that are always available and ready to assist.
5 Fewer defects: Generally, open source programs have little software errors and security flaws. The reason is that they have a large number of developers that work on these projects continuously. Thus, it is easy to identify and fix errors quickly and much faster when compared to proprietary products. Because of this, open source software has more stability than commercial products.
6 Anyone can contribute to the favorite product: Open source software gives users the ability to modify projects themselves,unlike commercial software. In business, there is no argument because they feel developing someone else’s project is a waste of time. However, professionals see this as a useful and enjoyable experience. As stated previously, many errors can be fixed quickly; this is really essential.
Open source project gives programmers the ability to do as they please. Most times, they use such projects in their work. And when you are passionate about what you do, you work more efficiently.
7 Faster releases: All large projects involve a large number of people. For instance, more than one hundred thousand programmers from different parts of the world are part of the LibreOffice development team. They communicate through e-mails or their web pages. Thus, such team of professionals can create products much faster than commercial manufacturers.
8 Saves money and resources:One of the benefits of using open source software is that it is almost entirely free. Although some commercial products are open source, in most scenarios, you can use them free of charge. Using open source software help companies maximize resources and reduce expenses significantly, especially when an open source product is better than the proprietary one.
Using open source software has numerous benefits; it allows users operate or design the software according to their taste, it is cost effective and help maximize resources, it connects professionals from different parts of the world and helps in providing quick solutions to problems. Among the benefits of open source software mentioned above, which of them do you think is more important to you?