Open Source VS Proprietary Software

The Battle: Open-Source Versus Proprietary Software

Open Source Software Rules the World

recent study indicates that eighty percent (80%) of businesses embrace open source software over closed-sourced proprietary software. Price used to be the most important reason businesses selected open source, but that is rapidly changing.

Open source provides stronger security than proprietary software and offers better quality. Eight out of ten companies today choose open source based on quality, according to PC World. Open source software is winning the battle. Why?

1. Superior Quality

A software package created by a handful of developers is not as well tested as a software package created by thousands of developers. Countless developers and users are working to improve the quality and stability of open source software, like Ruby On Rails. These contributors are also innovating new features and enhancements to the products.

Users can help craft the software to match their needs. Plus, there’s typically an extensive library of routines that can be bolted seamlessly onto the framework to customize it to your needs. Technical superiority is the primary reason enterprises choose open source software.

2. Real Time Security

Bugs in open source software are fixed quickly. as in the case of the Linux kernel exploit uncovered recently. Linus Torvalds -the creator of Linux – coined “Linus’ Law” stating that  “given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow.” The more people who can see and test code, the more likely flaws will be caught and fixed quickly. It’s the polar opposite of the “security through obscurity” argument used to justify the use of expensive proprietary products.

Recently, a number of defects were discovered in the Android kernel. The only reason the discovery was possible is that the kernel code is open to public view. Not all of Android is open source.

3. Custom Applications

With Open Source, developers users can tweak a piece of open source software to suit their customer’s needs. Since the code is open, it’s simply a matter of modifying it to add the functionality needed. The app can be validated to ensure it works properly through test driven development. You can’t do that with proprietary software!

4. Interoperability

If you value interoperability with other businesses, computers and users, and don’t want to be limited by proprietary data formats, open source software is the only choice. Open source software easily connects to and communicates with other applications. Proprietary software requires conversion interfaces.

5. Vendor Freedom

When businesses turn to open source software, they free themselves from the severe vendor lock-in that can afflict users of proprietary packages. You are no longer at the mercy of the vendor’s vision, requirements, dictates, prices, priorities and schedules.

With Open Source, users control the software uses. They also have a worldwide community of developers and users at their disposal for help with that. Oh, and there are no license fees!

6. Software Validation

With closed source, proprietary, software, you must rely on the vendor’s word that the software is secure and adheres to standards. It’s a leap of faith. On the other hand, visibility of the code behind open source software means full access to the entire software system – you can see for yourself!

7. World Wide Support

Open source software is generally free, and so is a world wide support system through the vibrant communities surrounding each piece of software. Almost every Ruby and Rails enhancement release, for example, has a dedicated online community with excellent documentation, forums, mailing lists, wikis and newsgroups.

For businesses wanting extra assurance, there are paid support options on most open source packages at prices far below what most proprietary vendors charge. Providers of commercial support, specialize in support, and tend to be more responsive.

8. Cost and Value

Proprietary software sucks revenue out of your business – the purchase price of the software , the exorbitant cost of mandatory virus protection, support charges, ongoing upgrade expenses and the costs associated with contract locks. Open Source gives you better quality at a fraction of the price.

9. Test Drive

If you’re considering using open source software, you can try it out for free.Take it for a test drive. There’s no initial license fee or financial commitment.

10. Shorter Time to Market

While lowering costs remains the top reason companies elect to develop open-source projects, open source software drives innovation, decreases time to market, and improves the quality of software in a secure framework.

Do you have insights into why open source is so ubiquitous? We invite your comments and observations. Just drop us a note in the comment section below.

CabForward℠ is an Open Source Developer

CabForward is Ruby On Rails in Austin, and one of the leading mobile custom programming companies in Central Texas. We use Ruby On Rails because it is an open source platform which is optimized for programmer happiness and sustainable productivity. It’s our favorite because it lets us write software that doesn’t suck. 

Why? Because our Geeks Care. How much do we care?

Find Out

To take a look at some of the projects we have completed in recent months, check out our portfolio page.