As Linux grows to be the operating platform of choice for most enterprises, an increasing number of businesses are adopting the open-source technology standards when it comes to the software running their business.
There are several benefits of open-source technology that proprietary software often lacks, making them a viable solution for businesses.
Picking the right software for running your business should always be taken carefully, considering the offerings available in the market while weighing in its short and long-term benefits on your company.
Open-source software is often the go-to choice of businesses if they’re not particularly looking for a specific feature as they are easier to customize.
“There were open source projects and free software before Linux was there. Linux in many ways is one of the more visible and one of the bigger technical projects in this area, and it changed how people looked at it because Linux took both the practical and ideological approach.”
– Linus Torvalds
What is Open Source Technology?
For the uninformed, open-source technology refers to the software created by any developer who pledges to upload the entire source code of the software.
Often clubbed together with FOSS, short for Free and Open Source Software, as the developer community likes to call it, FOSS defines the software to be open source and free.
The importance of open-source technology allows the community to analyze, re-engineer and share the software with anyone, increasing the trust factor on the software.
“Open-source software relies heavily upon user feedback to achieve stability and reliability. As open-source technology advances, we see a host of options and opportunities open up for businesses new and old alike.”
Some Benefits of Open Source Technologies
Contrary to popular belief, open-source technology does come with its benefits when compared to proprietary software.
A few of these offer financial benefits while most others improve productivity and efficiency of work.
We will expand upon some of the several benefits of open-source technology that make it a practical solution for a variety of businesses.
One primary benefit of open-source technology is the flexibility that comes with it. Being flexible allows the software to be built or customized by the business from the ground up.
When compared with proprietary software, where your request for modifications is at the hands of the software vendor, open-source software gives you the flexibility to customize it on your own.
Enterprises have the freedom to add or remove components as they please when it comes to open-source software as the necessary code is openly available and free to modify.
The flexibility of open-source software allows the creation of a truly customized and unique business tool for any business.
“The open-source community allows technology to evolve at a faster rate and gives consumers more freedom regarding functionality, flexibility, and ownership.”
2. Ready to Scale
When businesses grow to meet increasing demands, they also expect their software to adjust to these growing needs.
The Open-source software is flexible enough to scale to these ever-changing business environments, making it an excellent option for businesses of all sizes.
Making modifications is a painless activity as all the source material is available online which is enough to get your in-house development team started on the necessary changes.
Balancing your workload and achieving optimum performance becomes easy when you have a system that scales to your specific needs.
Speed is a factor where no business would compromise in their right mind and, open-source software caters to that very requirement.
The flexibility offered by open-source software makes for speedy development and, the end product is a tool that not only feels less clunky but operates instantly.
Not to mention the fact that having a large number of options also enables businesses to jump ship if something goes wrong.
Switching tools is not easy, but in some cases, it is doable instead of relying on your vendor to fix the problem, causing delays in your operations.
Proprietary software can cost you a lot considering how complicated and integrated you want the final product to be.
The key takeaway from this is that the software is so economical that it doesn’t make any significant financial impact on the company.
Being cost-effective also keeps you from worrying about any recurring license or maintenance fees.
The only downside to it is the time spent on finding, setting up and sometimes even tailoring the software to suit your needs.
Businesses with varying levels of financial stability can decide to go for an open-source technology or the traditional proprietary software.
Photo by Alexander Mils on Unsplash
5. Technically Advanced
Developers of open-source software often use bleeding-edge technologies to create new solutions to get their hands dirty with the latest innovations.
This experimentation leads to a prototype product that later on goes through hundreds of trials and improvements to become a more refined and usable software.
This cycle of experimentation and refinement carries on and presents enterprises with a product that technically feels current-gen with all the bells and whistles of the latest advancements.
The Rise of Open Source Software
Factors such as improved security and high adoption by businesses increase the reliability of open-source software.
The continuous review of source code by teams of developers across the world immensely increases the stability of the software after going through multiple testing and feedback stages.
The resulting product is a software that is highly suggested by the user community and provides complete reliability with the security of your business information.
Online communities and forums act as testimonials for various software where enterprises can get user reviews and read up on their issues and accompanying solutions.
“I think, fundamentally, open source does tend to be more stable software. It’s the right way to do things.”
– Linus Torvalds
7. Freedom to Switch
Open-source technology is a vast marketplace for all your business solution needs consisting of dozens of tools that cater to your enterprise requirements.
With little to no cost and almost non-existent licensing, the option to switch to some other software is always at your disposal, whatever be the reason.
This freedom alone makes you independent from relying on one particular tool, opening doors for future upgrades in business logic, or for merely adopting the newer technological improvements.
One upside to this freedom is that you are free from any sudden price hikes from your vendors in case you use proprietary software.
Information privacy and security are two of the most common and pressing aspects of concern for enterprises when it comes to using any new business tool.
Open-source software with its openly available source code allows you to analyze every bit of code.
Unlike proprietary software where you cannot access and analyze the source code.
Its open-source counterpart enables you to get into the bits and bytes of the freely available source code to see what’s going on.
A primary factor improving the security offered by open-source software is its openly accessible nature, allowing for swift identification and correction of any underlying flaws or broken functionalities by anyone accessing the source code.
Open-source technology translates to the complete transparency of the software, be it the transparency of the code or the goals.
With everything freely available for analysis, anyone is open to review the entire source code, be it new features, addressed bugs, improvements.
The transparency element behind any open-source software makes it clear that:
- Why was this software built?
- How will it be of any use to you?
- Who helped build it?
Pointers like above help paint a clearer picture of the software for many enterprises by portraying the current status of the software, which in turn become the deciding factors behind giving the open-source software the green light.
10. Community Support
When it comes to getting support, you would be surprised by the level of support you can get with open-source software.
There is a high possibility that your problem has already been discovered and resolved with a comprehensive solution, making your life easier.
As for developers, plenty of detailed documentation also exists, alongside the software which will be of great help to your IT team.
There also exists an option for dedicated one-to-one support which may or may not cost you, depending on factors such as the severity of the problem, timing constraints, unavailability of developers and such.
Open-source technology is gradually becoming the norm and is being adopted by enterprises more often than you think with Linux leading the pack for a long time.
The importance of open-source technology is not only limited to being a low-cost alternative for your business but it now also offers benefits that were traditionally available by using proprietary software.
Open-source grants a plethora of benefits, some of which we have expanded above.
The greatest of them being open access to the code to see what’s going on behind the scenes considering you have the technical prowess.
It is vastly recommended you go through each of the aspects for a better understanding while deciding if you want to go for open-source software or the proprietary one.
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