It is often said that open source software solutions are better than closed source, proprietary ones. However, business owners need to know how exactly open source solutions can benefit their organizations.
Strong support from the community: Companies need strong software that can be built into solid digital infrastructure. It means that you need to choose the right software. The solution should be actively developed and security updates are regularly released. The solution needs to perfectly match your requirements, even when your business constantly evolves and becomes more mature. If the software doesn’t accommodate changes, then you may have an expensive migration ahead. It is important that you don’t choose a dying product and you need to be careful with what the vendor is saying. Multiple open source solutions are backed by thriving communities that are diverse and active. You need to determine whether the community appears to be optimistic and motivated.
Longevity: Strong community support will result in a good longevity of the product. If the product is stagnant and unexpectedly dying a few years later, you may need to prepare a migration process and it means that you will incur a huge cost. Communities build and maintain software collaboratively. As an example, OpenStack is an open source software that is developed by dozens of companies and hundreds of individual volunteers. With such a strong community, you can choose a vendor with software solutions that best match your situations. Even if there’s a small community that backs a software solution, you can still hire someone to improve and modify the software solution on your own.
Good security: In the digital world, security is always a complicated matter and it can even be more complex in the open source environment. Security factor is always crucial and developers of open source solutions know that. You can directly see how security factors are being maintained and you can also follow open discussions among developers in web forums. It’s better if there’s someone in your organization who can study the source code and perform an independent audit on the existing security level. In fact, an active community rewards someone who can uncover any security flaw. If there are plenty of motivated developers in the community, you can guarantee that the security hole will be quickly patched. Open development results in an open process. So, you can check the progress of the development and whether a vendor has followed the baseline standards in the industry.
More focus on users: Often, an open source solution is developed and maintained by users themselves, so you can ensure better usability. You often see that an open source solution is developed in a wider way. It means that an open source community seeks to include a wide range of features to meet the demand of most of the developers. This may seem like a mix and match solution, but after years of development and improvement, it should be refined and mature. Some companies like fonehouse are not able to use open source but still managed to maintain a strong infrastructure.
Excellent support: Proprietary vendors will respond to reports on bugs and security issues, but the delay can be long. Usually, major improvements are delivered with the next software version, which means that you need to buy it. When dealing with an active open source community, often you find great support from highly motivated volunteer developers. They are eager to contribute by making direct improvements.
Better licensing issues: Often, typical software licenses are completely full of troublesome clauses, even if you are only given the right to legally use the software. GPL and other open source licenses are created more to protect users, instead of vendors. It ensures that you can use the software properly as long as you want. GPL and its various derivative licenses are quite well understood and it’s assured that you can make full use of the open source software. When dealing with a proprietary solution, you may encounter various harsh compliance clauses with huge fines. Specific actions could cause a breach of the license and this situation puts customers at risk. A pure open source solution is intended to avoid such issues. Often, there’s only a compliance rule related to open source development that says you need to share any modification you make to the code.
It is clear that open source solutions are much better, especially if you choose the best vendor. In addition, you will benefit from an enhanced security, focus on users and responsive supports.