5 benefits of open source software
The list of advantages of open-source software is endless, but they have their downsides, too. Here’s what you need to know.
Open-source software is the type of software that comes with full and free access to its source code. That means that users with development skills can tweak bits of the software to align it with their needs. Licensed software doesn’t come with that privilege; they let you buy the finished product but don’t give you access to or let you edit the underlying source code. Each option has its cons and pros, but in this article, we shall focus on the benefits of using open-source software.
Open source offers better security
Businesses running on digital systems and relying on data to make decisions cannot afford to overlook security. While a misleading notion may have turned business owners against open source software, it so happens that the source code being free to all is very advantageous. For example, if there is a bug in the database, locating it and fixing it is easier if you can access the source code. This PostgreSQL vs. SQL Server comparison shows why that is true and gives you useful insights into two of the world’s most popular open-source database management systems.
Open source code is of a higher quality
Open-source software is the product of thousands of coding experts, each with their own skill-set, experience, and strengths. With each aspect of the source code potentially being handled by a different group of experts, the chances that you will find obvious weaknesses in open-source software is minimal.
It guarantees longevity
Since the source code is free for access to anyone, the evolution of open-source software hardly comes to a stop. There are no vendor confinements to deal with, and if the company behind the software goes to the wall or stops providing support for the software, you can still get help from online user communities.
It has low upfront costs
Open-source software costs you little to nothing at all when obtaining it. All you need to do is find a legitimate download site, and you have your solution! On the flipside, OSS can be costlier in the long run as you will be fully responsible for detecting bugs and fixing them. If you don’t have a coding background or an in-house team of IT experts, you will have to outsource services, which can be quite costly.
It gives you the freedom to try before committing
Since it will cost you nothing to try and see if the OSS software is what your business needs, you don’t have to worry about investing in a non-compatible or irrelevant solution. Proprietary software doesn’t give you this option. You can only perform the utility and relevance checks once you have bought it.
The list of advantages of open-source software is endless, but they have their downsides, too, so don’t feel compelled to use an open-source or build-your-own solution. However, if you have two similar options at your disposal – one an open-source application and the other a licensed one – you have every reason to prioritize the open-source software.
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