10 Reasons Open Source Is Good for Business

Cost is only one of many factors that make free and open source software a better bet in the enterprise.

By Katherine Noyes, PC World |  Open Source, Business, open source

In the proprietary world? Not so much. Microsoft, for example, typically takes weeks if not months to patch vulnerabilities such as the recently discovered Internet Explorer zero-day flaw. Good luck to all the businesses using it in the meantime.

2. Quality

Which is more likely to be better: a software package created by a handful of developers, or a software package created by thousands of developers? Just as there are countless developers and users working to improve the security of open source software, so are there just as many innovating new features and enhancements to those products.

In general, open source software gets closest to what users want because those users can have a hand in making it so. It's not a matter of the vendor giving users what it thinks they want--users and developers make what they want, and they make it well. At least one recent study has shown, in fact, that technical superiority is typically the primary reason enterprises choose open source software.

3. Customizability

Along similar lines, business users can take a piece of open source software and tweak it to suit their needs. Since the code is open, it's simply a matter of modifying it to add the functionality they want. Don't try that with proprietary software!

4. Freedom

When businesses turn to open source software, they free themselves from the severe vendor lock-in that can afflict users of proprietary packages. Customers of such vendors are at the mercy of the vendor's vision, requirements, dictates, prices, priorities and timetable, and that limits what they can do with the products they're paying for.

With FOSS, on the other hand, users are in control to make their own decisions and to do what they want with the software. They also have a worldwide community of developers and users at their disposal for help with that.

5. Flexibility

When your business uses proprietary software such as Microsoft Windows and Office, you are on a treadmill that requires you to keep upgrading both software and hardware ad infinitum. Open source software, on the other hand, is typically much less resource-intensive, meaning that you can run it well even on older hardware. It's up to you--not some vendor--to decide when it's time to upgrade.

6. Interoperability


Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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