3 Reasons Why Open Source Is Better than Proprietary Software

3 Reasons Why Open Source Is Better Than Proprietary Software by Michael Bendit

{3:28 minutes to read} In 1981, a small team of IBM engineers broke from the company’s longstanding tradition by launching the IBM 5150 computer, using industry standard parts and an open architecture instead of their own proprietary designs. The result, dubbed “The IBM PC” by the press, was the inspiration for a generation of explosive growth in the personal computer industry.

Years later, in 1998, Internet software pioneer Netscape followed in IBM’s footsteps by announcing the open release of the source code for Netscape Navigator, its flagship web browser. This meant that source code could now be extended and enhanced through an engaged community of motivated software users and developers. Thus began the Open Source Initiative, a group founded shortly thereafter “to educate and advocate for the superiority of an open development process”.

3 Reasons Why Open Source Is Better Than Proprietary Software by Michael Bendit

Even if you’ve never heard the term “open source software,” you’ve certainly benefited from it. WordPress, the world’s most popular content management system (CMS), started out as an open-source project and is now the foundation for millions of websites. The next most widely used CMS is Drupal, also an open source system. WooCommerce, an open source plugin module for WordPress, is the most widely used e-commerce platform, followed by Magento Community, which — you guessed it — is also open source. See a pattern forming here?

So why is open source better than proprietary software?

1. Well, first of all, it’s FREE, and most people like FREE.

2. Second, you can avoid predatory vendor lock-in, so you won’t get stuck with systems that become obsolete or are difficult to support.

3. Third, as there are thousands of developers who are experienced working with open source systems, you can always find a capable programmer for your project.

That last point provides a huge advantage should you need to hire a development team or decide that you want to replace the one you have. My company has rescued several software projects built on proprietary platforms that are either no longer supported or are so obscure that programmers with experience on the platform just can’t be found.

Then why would anyone use proprietary software?

One legitimate drawback of open source is that, because of its popularity and “openness,” it tends to attract hackers. WordPress sites, in particular, are frequent targets of attacks by hackers who seek out vulnerabilities in poorly designed or outdated plugins. Another reason is that some organizations just feel more comfortable using software that is supported by a private for-profit company rather than a consortium of volunteer, self-governed programmers.

If you think you should be using more, or even less, open source software, contact us. We’d be happy to provide guidance based on our experience with hundreds of open software development projects.

Michael Bendit

 

Michael Bendit
Managing Director
Software Development Resources Inc.
888-447-1591
111 Eighth Avenue,
Suite 1500
New York, NY 10011
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