Ever been stuck with software that just isn't cutting it? Mainstream software has been around for a while and many companies have built their businesses off the franchise, but that doesn't necessarily make it the best option for you. This is not to say that there aren't instances when open source software fails as well, but it seems like the problem can be addressed much more easily. So, put that prepackaged software back on the shelf and read on as we explore some of the benefits of open source.
Paying the least amount of money for the best product? Who wouldn't jump on that bandwagon? So, while the initial cost of mainstream software may be enticing at first, consider the fact that open source code is free via open source licensing. There will be maintenance and system management fees, but overall that's a small price to pay in comparison to all the hidden costs of proprietary tools. Moreover, the TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) of closed source software is actually quite a bit more, especially if you include thing like maintenance fees, upgrade fees, time consumption, total investment, etc.
Aside from the cost, flexibility also plays a key role in favor of open source. Proprietor owned software and standards are extremely rigid and restrictive. There’s only so much you can do with them because that’s all they can and will do. There are licenses which prevent the possibility of alteration. Moreover, the systems require constant upgrades. On the other hand, open source leaves things open for interpretation, especially since it relies on the open source community for updates. Thus, you can use open source frameworks, software, languages, etc for all kinds of specialized programs and applications.
Let's talk security. With more mainstream software, there’s a high chance that bugs/fixes will take an indeterminate amount time to be addressed. Moreover, you don’t necessarily know what kind of bugs are in the system because only the proprietor has access to that information. On the other hand, because open source code is open to the public, the likelihood that bugs/errors will be caught and addressed quickly is high. In other words, there are more pairs of eyes are able to look through the code and therefore find issues that a small team might not see.
And as a result of the aforementioned qualities, customization is possible. Eventually you will need your software to do something new. A proprietary solution may not have a new version or upgrade that meets your needs. Do you live with the limitations or find something that will help you succeed? Open source gives you access to the building blocks of the software and the freedom to change it to meet your needs.
Afraid of the cost of development of said software? Don't be. There are developers that will charge you and arm and a leg, but there are also developers that are more reasonable.
Moving to open source from commonly-used software can be daunting as it takes quite a bit of time. It presents a greater challenge, but it's worth the effort. In the end, the benefits of open source really go hand-in-hand with a thriving business. You don't need to sacrifice quality, interoperability, auditability and multiple support options. With open source, you don’t have to worry about having to make your operations fit into a one-size fits all mold. You can concentrate on what really matters: your business. And you can do it with better with more capable software, programs and applications.
Need further convincing? Check out some alternatives to mainstream options.