The term “open source” refers to software that is designed to be accessible publicly for individuals to use, alter, and distribute. Users are able to access and change the source code of open source software. Source code refers to the commands that are composed by computer programmers to be compiled or executed.
Chances are, you’ve heard quite a bit about open source code and have been thinking about giving it a try. In fact, many enterprises have already made the switch from closed source software to open source software. After all, why pay for closed source software like Microsoft Office when you can use open sourced software like LibreOffice for free. However, while there are many advantages of open source code, there are also some disadvantages. Here is some information about the pros and cons of the open source code movement.
Free and/or Cheap, is it really?
Companies can save a significant amount of time and money by relying on open source software. This software can come in the form of plugins, front ends, interfaces, back ends, and engines. Volunteers design open source software to be usable by anyone, even individuals and enterprises that are unable to afford commercial software. In many cases, these programs are compatible with just about any platform. Therefore, using open source software can help extend the life of your hardware.
Even though open source code is free, it is also often highly reliable. Usually, open source software is developed by skilled experts. In some cases, they are developed with the help of dozens or even hundreds of volunteers. Therefore, open source software tends to be high-quality programs. Since anyone is able to access the source code and fix bugs, open source software tends to improve continuously. New versions or features are often released every once in a while.
It may not be as User-Friendly as it should be
One of the main disadvantages of open source code is that it is often not as user-friendly. However, this is not always the case, as Mozilla Firefox, Android OS, and LibreOffice are all easy to use. However, when it comes to open source code, the developers often pay more attention to solving major problems quickly. As a result, the developers may not pay as much attention to the Graphical User Interface. Therefore, open source software can be difficult to use, particularly for non-technical users.
Pitalls may include a lack of tech support
In most cases, user communities for open source software are very responsive. However, you can’t depend on the user community to provide you with help and tech support any time you need it. Individuals are volunteering their time to fix your bugs and respond to your questions. Therefore, if your employee or client encounters a bug, you may be on your own. Either you can fix the issue yourself, wait for someone else in the community to fix the issues, or hire an expert to help you improve and maintain the software for your purposes.
For more information about the advantages and disadvantages of the open source code movement, don’t hesitate to contact us.