The benefits of open source is tremendous and has gained huge popularity in the field of IT in recent years. This is mainly because the advantages of open-source software is that it’s free to use – its greatest advantage. As it is developed by a non-profit community, it has some disadvantages as well.
Open-source software is free to use, distribute, and modify. It has lower costs, and in most cases this is only a fraction of the cost of their proprietary counterparts.
Open-source software is more secured as the code is accessible to everyone. Anyone can fix bugs as they are found, and users do not have to wait for the next release. The fact that is continuously analyzed by a large community produces secure and stable code.
Open source is not dependent on the company or author that originally created it. Even if the company fails, the code continues to exist and be developed by its users. Also, it uses open standards accessible to everyone; thus, it does not have the problem of incompatible formats that exist in proprietary software.
Lastly, the companies using open-source software do not have to think about complex licensing models and do not need anti-piracy measures like product activation or serial number.
The main disadvantage of open-source software is not being straightforward to use. Open-source operating systems like Linux cannot be learned in a day. They require effort and possibly training from your side before you are able to master them. You may need to hire a trained person to make things easier, but this will incur additional costs.
There is a shortage of applications that run both on open source and proprietary software; therefore, switching to an open-source platform involves a compatibility analysis of all the other software used that run on proprietary platforms. In addition, there are many ongoing parallel developments on open source software. This creates confusion on what functionalities are present in which versions.
Lastly, many of the latest hardware are incompatible to the open-source platform; so you have to rely on third-party drivers.
The decision of adopting open-source software should not be taken just on the basis of the low-cost involved. It entails a detailed analysis and understanding of the requirements before switching to open source to get full benefits of it.
By Jack Rosenblum