Open Source vs. Licensed Software: Who Wins?

inShare Nothing is new under the moon, one wise man said. Every generation faces the same choice: old and trusted traditional ways or the vast and unknown world of unexplored? This describes the situation presented in the nowadays software development market. Open source coding is widespread nowadays and continues its growth and development, while proprietary software is slowly losing ground. Or does it not? Let’s see! First of all, let’s understand, this is not a war. There are no prosecutions or discrimination for open source users or developers from the traditional business players, there are simply 2 different approaches to software development: open source and licensed. What Are the Benefits of Licensed Software? Procedures. Throughout years of development and maintenance centralized development companies gathered humongous amount of data regarding every aspect of their software development, usage and upgrading. It is protocoled, categorized and available for immediate usage to train new employees, for example. This allows having FAQ knowledgebase with ready answers for nearly any question. Usability. Let’s be honest, most of the software users are not so techy. They can press several buttons to have things done right, but opening the code scares them. They are ready to pay money to get the working software, rather than spending time on making things work the way they want. Support. Pro-active live and qualified customer support able to deal with any issue end user might experience is one of the main benefits licensed software has to offer. What Are the Open Source Software Advantages? Diversity. While proprietary products have a wide range of functions and features, they are still limited. Meanwhile OSS offers absolute freedom of solutions, as open code means the possibility to change any parameter the way you need. Community. OSS is developed, maintained and supported by communities of like-minded professionals, eager to find the new and better ways of coding. They might be the employees of the proprietary developers (and they usually are), but in their free time, gathering together on forums and wikis, working together, sharing ideas and generating new ones, they drive the web development forward. Availability. Everything best should come free”, we say and here are several examples: Wikipedia, the world’s biggest database is operated according the OSS rules. It is non-profit, everyone can access and modify the data and the community is fantastic. WordPress, one of the most popular website builders worldwide, is the OSS. It is free, it is fully adjustable and has a great supportive community. Drupal, the website builder and application framework is an amazing tool. It is one of the best examples of the free OSS worldwide and it allows publishing websites, building applications and doing a myriad of things you can imagine. “You come for the Open Source, you stay for the community” is their motto and it is absolutely true. As you can see, there are benefits within every approach. What to choose then? Why choosing after all? A lot of recent updates of proprietary software utilize the open source scripts and a plenty of license software developers are currently converting to open source system (even Microsoft did great efforts in that direction by replacing their long-term updates for Office 365 and other apps with weekly updates which are impossible without active co-operation with the community). Open Source is not a revolution of the industry. It is rather evolution of the software development. Despite remaining mostly licensed, industry steadily turns into open source, so do not hesitate to utilize all the benefits OSS has to offer!