October 15, 2013

Open Source vs. Proprietary Software: Which Platform is Winning?


Hostway Team

softwarechoiceChoosing the right software to power your business is of the utmost importance. Making the wrong investment could severely cripple an enterprise, so it’s in your best interest to look for cost-effective, flexible solutions to power your operations.

In the past, software decision-makers would generally be forced to purchase proprietary software. These days, however, they can choose between proprietary and open-source software. While proprietary products had enjoyed a stranglehold on the market, open source has taken measureable strides as of late, establishing itself as a viable substitute.

Both forms have benefits and drawbacks. So if there’s a theoretical battle between proprietary and open-source software, which one is winning? We’ll let you decide for yourself.

Proprietary Software

The proprietary software market certainly isn’t disappearing. When you purchase software from a reputable vendor, odds are you’re getting a quality product. Should something go wrong with that product, you’re able to hop on the phone and connect with that company’s customer service department in order to get things back on track. The companies that produce software for enterprise customers have their finger on the pulse of what the business world needs. Their products are designed specifically with those needs in mind.

On the other side of the coin, acquiring proprietary software for enterprise usage doesn’t come cheaply. Furthermore, once a company implements a proprietary solution, it becomes very dependent on the developer, because only that company’s programmers know how the software works. The business then must contact the proprietary software creator whenever problems arise, instead of turning elsewhere for help. Proprietary software is static due to the concealed coding, which can make it challenging to adapt to the ever-changing needs of the modern business environment.

Open-Source Software

Many companies turn to open-source software because it is created by a community of developers and costs substantially less – if anything – when compared to proprietary software. Because the software is developed by a community, whenever any bugs or security flaws are exploited, programmers quickly work to patch them up. Furthermore, the open software is designed to function with other open software, whereas proprietary software generally is designed to operate in a closed system. This makes open-source software flexible, quickly adapting to changing business needs.

But open source isn’t without its faults. Sure it is developed by a community of programmers. But just how good are they? Some critics wonder about the quality of the programmers working on the code. Because these programmers don’t work for a particular company, should a company have a problem with open-source software, there’s no one to air possible grievances to that is ultimately responsible for resolving them. Finally, open source isn’t designed specifically with enterprises in mind, so some critics argue it’s not well-suited for business needs.

In 2010, 75 percent of Global 2000 enterprises used open-source software in their mission-critical software portfolios. By 2016, that number is expected to rise to 99 percent. While both kinds of software certainly have their pros and cons, it appears as though open source continues to gain momentum. Is your company using open-source software? If so, what type of software? If not, what concerns are holding you back?

Source: http://visual.ly/history-open-source-software

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