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Why Open Source?

Having used a variety of enterprise software, from client management software, to project management software, to time tracking software, I have a personal preference when it comes to which software I use: commercial or open source software? My answer is open source software, for several reasons.

Here are examples of why I prefer open source over commercial software:

Freedom and Flexibility – With commercial software, you get what you get. Open source software allows you the ability to tweak the code and make changes, providing the flexibility to fit your needs. This is not possible given the limitations of proprietary software. This flexibility also makes open source software more versatile in its interoperability with other software.

Quality – Which product do you think would be better? Software developed by a limited number of people, or software that benefits from unlimited collaboration? Open source software is often the product of many people providing coding, ideas, feedback, and suggestions. More people review and test the software for the functionality that most concerns them. The net result is a potentially wider ranging QA (Quality Assurance) than any single entity might be able to support. A common reason enterprises choose open source software is because of its reliable quality.

Security – Since more people are involved in the development of open source software, more people find bugs. Exploits in open source software are noticed and fixed quicker. This transparency provides open source software a higher security level, and more rapid problem resolution.

Stability – Public access to the infrastructure allows more developers to test it. Additionally, open source software is usually delivered when the developers are satisfied that it is ready. It is typically built without the pressure of completion deadlines and the no-rush advantage allows developers to take adequate time perfecting it. Anything built slowly but surely is often more stable than something built in a rush.

Cost Efficiency – Cost is probably the most common reason people THINK open source software is preferable. The cost efficiency of open source software is not only in its price; it is in its flexibility and customization. Open source software reduces enterprises’ dependency on software vendors, and lowers total cost of ownership.

More and more companies see the advantages of open source software compared to commercial and proprietary software. Seeing and understanding the philosophy behind and the actual development process of open source software, it is the apparent better choice as more companies recognize its merits.

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