As software products grow larger, identifying the right technology to develop a proper code base is a big challenge for product and platform organizations. New upgrades, version releases and compelling market strategies are greatly dependent on how quickly product organizations can make the desired new products or migrate from legacy technologies or improve the usability and scalability from previous releases. It is common that a B2B software release happens every 6-12 months and a B2C software release occurs every 2-4 months. Product firms are always feeling the heat in providing more digital strategies to customers with less R&D cost.
With many F500 organizations and Government IT systems using open source software as their back
bone for customer connectivity; it’s becoming apparent that price is not the only advantage that the open source community holds. While the discussion on Open source vs. Commercial is always a sweet topic over a cup of coffee, the fact remains that open source software (OSS) holds numerous compelling advantages for businesses apart from software’s low price.
Need examples? Let’s start counting.
According to that maxim, “Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow.” What that means is that the more people who can see and test a set of code, the more likely flaws will be caught and fixed quickly. With the community evolving so quickly and rapidly, there are unlimited set of developers and testers who can test products and provide feedbacks to the workflow and algorithm of a particular product.
How does it sound? A software product created by a handful of developers can be validated by thousands of developers & testers. You can call it a “mess” or you can just say “wow” as there are many innovative new features and enhancements to the products from developers all over the world.
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 driven by Enterprises rather it is defined by end users. In fact, technical superiority and the code quality are the primary reasons for enterprises to choose open source software.
Product firms can always 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.
When digital savvy product organizations turn to open source software, they free themselves from the vendor lock-in that can affect end users of proprietary packages. Commercial software development platforms dictate their vision, requirements, prices, priorities and timetable, and this limits what can be made with the products they’re getting paid for. With OSS, on the other hand, users are in control to make their own decisions and to do what they want with the software.
When your business uses proprietary software, 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 and what kind of support resources you need to hire.
Open source software is much better at adhering to open standards than proprietary software is. If you value inter-operability with other businesses, computers and users, and don’t want to be limited by proprietary data formats, open source software is the way to go.
With proprietary software, you have nothing but the vendor’s claims telling you that they’re keeping the software secure and adhering to standards, for example. It’s basically a leap of faith. The visibility of the code behind open source software, however, means you can see for yourself, have sense of ownership within you and be confident.
8. Support Options
Open source software is generally free, and so is a world of support through the vibrant communities surrounding each piece of software. The support is exhaustive for the open source community and it has been embraced with excellent documentation, forums, mailing lists, forges, wikis, newsgroups and even live support chat.
For businesses that want extra assurance, there are now paid support options on most open source packages at prices that are still fall far below what most proprietary vendors will charge. Nevertheless, support services have been paramount for commercial software providers since support is where their revenue is focused.
10. Try Before You Buy
If you’re considering using open source software, it will typically cost you nothing to try it out first. This will help you to have a vision towards your product with rapid prototyping, Proof of Concepts and Pilot strategies. You just need to pay for the resources that you are going to work but it is very common even for commercial frameworks like Dotnet and Dynamics. None of this is to say, of course, that your business should necessarily use open source software for everything and contribute to the community better. But with all the many benefits it holds, you’d be remiss not to consider it seriously.