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The Benefits of Open Source Software to Businesses

Tue, 06/03/2014 - 12:37pm | by Guest Contributor

Open source software is a term that is pretty popular in the business world. But, just in case you're new to the concept, basically what it means is that it's a type of software that comes with a source code. Once you have the code and you are able to access the compiled version of the software, you are then able to customize it to your liking.

The cool thing about this is that it's not an infringement on the software itself; matter of fact, it's a practice that is actually encouraged by the manufacturer(s). It is their belief that over time, it will serve to be a more useful application as a direct result of the modifications that have been made.

Now, that's an "in a nut shell" kind of explanation; however, hopefully, it has provided you with enough detail to be able to understand the next part of this article: the benefits of open source software when it comes to businesses and their daily practices.

It's great for security purposes. Since open source software needs a source code in order for people to access it, this kind of software is pretty reliable when it comes to keeping what you want hidden from public viewing. Plus, as you are customizing it to fit your personal needs, bugs in open source software tend to get cleared up pretty quickly---the less errors, the less of a chance for security breaches.

It's high quality. Remember that one of the key things about open source software is that many people are able to make modifications to it. So, rather than purchasing software that a few dozen developers made, by going with open source software instead, you are able to utilize a tool that literally thousands of people have updated and upgraded.

It's got a strong support team. Nothing in the technological world is worth using unless there is qualified customer support. And while most open source software is free, there is actually a large support network within it as well. For companies that would like some additional assistance, there is also a growing group of paid support that you can purchase that is still at a really reasonable price.

It's cost effective. Proprietary software (such as Microsoft Windows) comes with a lot of "baggage". There's the price of the software. Then there's what you have to pay for things like virus protection, upgrades and high-end customer support. But just think, you could go an open source software route and come out a lot cheaper. It only takes a minute to download open office (for instance) and it's good, free and constantly being made better.

It's something that you can feel confident about. With other forms of software, you pretty much only have the vendor's word to go by when it comes to things like security and the actual stability of the software itself. With open source software, the source code is something that you can visibly see, which provides you with the confirmation that the software actually is safe.

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