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Are Open Source Solutions Good for Your Software Development?

Prem KhatriBy: Prem Khatri

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In the digital age, businesses heavily depend on software products to accomplish crucial tasks and processes. Therefore, a company must choose a secure, functional, and reliable software solution to suit their needs. While proprietary products have been the norm for decades, they may not always be the best solution, so managers and stakeholders should take a serious look at the major advantages of open source solutions.

Benefits of Open Source Development:

Increased Security

An organization’s security is of the utmost importance. However, in the digital age, it’s easier than ever for malicious actors to get their hands on a company’s sensitive data. Therefore, companies should only use the most secure software to keep account numbers, employee information, and other sensitive data safe.

Most software products are created by small teams with limited resources. Moreover, these teams often have to work on tight deadlines. These constraints often result in security blind spots and suboptimal code. Hackers love to exploit these vulnerabilities to gain access to companies’ systems and data. While traditional developers eventually patch these vulnerabilities, a lot of damage may be done before security problems are fixed. Furthermore, traditional developers may stop supporting a product at any time, leaving any extant security threats practically unfixable.

In contrast, since open source software is available for anyone to see, users can quickly find, address, and fix security threats before they get out of hand. Due to their accessibility, open source projects are much less prone to abandonment. This means that they are more constantly updated and optimized to provide a more secure software experience.

Flexibility

Many traditional software solutions are subject to contractual limits, and many companies are forced to work with a specific vendor. Because of these factors, it may be difficult to adequately scale, upgrade, or renegotiate the terms of a piece of software without jumping through hoops. These processes can take a lot of time, and in the meantime, a company is stuck with a suboptimal product. Furthermore, most software developers do not give users adequate tools or permissions to edit the product’s source code to suit their business’s needs.

With open source software, companies are typically subject to much more “relaxed” rules and permissions. Consequently, it’s much easier to scale open source solutions whenever the need arises. Businesses don’t have to waste time reading the fine print or renegotiating the terms of use. Also, anyone can access an open source product’s code, so IT professionals can tweak the code as necessary to optimize the business’s unique processes.

Integrated Management

Integrated Management

Companies need to integrate software products with servers, applications, and workstations. By consolidating all systems and processes, managers can more effectively direct employees and oversee projects, and other stakeholders can develop a better understanding of the business’s workflow while identifying areas of concern. Because open source products are so customizable and scalable, companies can easily integrate them into their other systems so that they are more accessible and convenient.

Since open source software is so accessible, many more people will look at an open source product’s code. Consequently, the user base can quickly fix any issues. With so many tech-savvy users, open source products are constantly improved and optimized for a more stable and streamlined experience. This means that employees won’t have to deal with time-consuming crashes and system malfunctions.

Quality Code

Quality Code

As mentioned before, proprietary software products tend to be managed by small teams under rigid time constraints. These limitations often result in inferior code that may cause bugs, crashes, and poor optimization. As a result, many proprietary products may be effectively unusable for days or weeks at a time. Time is money, so companies often have to suffer high opportunity costs while waiting for the vendor or developer to fix their proprietary product.

Cost-Effectiveness

Most closed source software solutions tend to be quite expensive to purchase and implement. Companies operate on a budget, so they may not be able to afford such expensive software. In contrast, open source solutions are often very affordable. In some cases, they may even be free.

When someone pays a lot of money for a product, they almost feel like they’re beholden to it. After all, the company needs to justify the expense, and they don’t want to waste a product that may have cost thousands of dollars. On top of paying less for the software, open source products allow users to easily shop around and experiment until they find what they need. If a company is not over the moon about a particular software product, then they can simply look for other open source solutions at little cost.

Open Source Vulnerabilities

Compatibility Issues

Sometimes, open source products may not be optimized for certain operating systems or devices. With enough support from the user base, these limitations can often be remedied. However, such fixes will only come if enough users experience the same compatibility issue. Otherwise, companies may have to buy new hardware or download expensive drivers to effectively use an open source product. Depending on the scale of the business, it may be unfeasible to go to such great lengths to accommodate a specific software solution.

Lack of Official Support

Proprietary software developers tend to employ large customer service teams. Whenever a business has trouble with a proprietary product, they can simply call the developer or vendor to receive expert-level assistance. However, since open source projects are often extremely delineated, official support infrastructures are extremely rare. As a result, companies may have to turn to third-party providers for adequate support.

Confusing Interfaces

Confusing Interfaces

Coders aren’t the only people involved in the development cycle of proprietary software products. Marketers, salespeople, and other non-coding professionals all work together to ensure that a proprietary solution is easy to use before the release date. In contrast, not as many professionals are involved in open source software development, so many open source products seem clunky and confusing. Without a robust marketing department behind them, open source developers may not always have the resources to create a more accessible product. When employees can’t figure out how to use a product, they may be frustrated, confused, and unproductive.

Quality Software Is Integral to a Business's Success

A software product can make or break a business. Open source products have so many distinct advantages over traditional proprietary solutions. If a business values security, flexibility, and functionality, then it should seriously consider an open source solution. While the prospect of using an open source product may seem intimidating, the right development service can help a business make the most out of their open source product. Whether a company needs help with integrations or software development, Chetu has the tools and expertise to satisfy its needs.

Disclaimer:

Chetu, Inc. does not affect the opinion of this article. Any mention of specific names for software, companies or individuals does not constitute an endorsement from either party unless otherwise specified. All case studies and blogs are written with the full cooperation, knowledge and participation of the individuals mentioned. This blog should not be construed as legal advice.

Chetu was incorporated in 2000 and is headquartered in Florida. We deliver World-Class Software Development Solutions serving entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 clients. Our services include process and systems design, package implementation, custom development, business intelligence and reporting, systems integration, as well as testing, maintenance and support. Chetu's expertise spans across the entire IT spectrum.

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