Open source software is a unique type of software that can be modified and shared by anyone. Most commercially available software has tight security measures protecting its source code. Open source programs, on the other hand, are published with the code freely accessible to the public. It can be copied, modified, shared, or studied however people see fit. In some cases, the license of the software may stipulate that any new programs that are made by altering the original code must also be shared openly with the public, although this is not always the case.
There are a number of benefits of using open source software rather than proprietary software for businesses. Here are just a few to consider:
1. Better Security.
The more people who look at the code of a specific program, the more likely any bugs or security holes are to be caught and fixed. In most cases, any bugs that are discovered are fixed incredibly quickly.
2. Higher Overall Quality.
In a lot of instances, the quality of open source programs far exceeds that of proprietary programs. It makes sense when you think about it. After all, most commercial software programs are created by just a few programmers. These programmers have a limited skill set from which to draw. Open source software, on the other hand, is modified and improved by thousands of different programmers, each with unique insight and qualifications. This often results in a far higher quality program. These programs generally include innovative features and enhancements that make them more practical to use. The reason for this quickly becomes apparent when you realize that the people who are making upgrades to the software are the same ones who are using it. After all, who is better qualified to know how to make a program work better than someone who uses it on a daily basis?
3. More Flexibility.
When you purchase proprietary software, you typically have to use it as-is. There is no way to modify the program to make it better suited to your needs. With open source software, on the other hand, you can tweak the program to work exactly the way that you want it to. If you don’t have the required programming skills to make the changes yourself, there are plenty of developers out there who are familiar with the program and can be hired to make the changes for you. This provides much more flexibility in terms of getting the software to perform the way that you want it to.
These are just a few of the many ways that businesses can benefit from using open source software. It is precisely because of these benefits that many modern-day businesses are turning to open source programs rather than buying software through more traditional routes. Once business owners understand the level of flexibility that comes along with these programs, working with commercially available software can feel a little bit too constricting. After all, the vast majority of businesses would benefit from a program that could grow and change with them over time and that could be custom-tailored to their needs.