does your website need a chatbot
Open-source software (OSS) is computer software released under a specific license that allows users the right to use, modify, and distribute the software and its source code to anyone, while Open Source Software Development (OSSD) is the process through which a software whose source code is publicly available, can be developed. Programmers who have access to the source code can actively change a project by fixing parts that aren’t working, adding features, and improving its overall interface of it.

Open source is popular among programmers due to its efficient running and collaborative efforts. Some of the famous open-source software solutions include Linux, Mozilla Firefox, WordPress, and VLC Media Player. According to Statista, the open-source market is expected to grow into a 30 billion U.S. dollars industry by 2022.

Here we will be discussing open source, its pros and cons, the business benefits of open source, and its future in the IT industry.

Let’s get into it.

Open Source And Copyleft

Copyleft is an open-source license that was founded by GNU. Copyleft in open source technology is basically the method for making a software program free while requiring that all the modified versions of the program are also free, and released under the same conditions.

When an open-source software project is published under the copyleft license, developers gain the right to modify, update and share the code. It is crucial for any software developed using open source technology to have a copyleft license before it can be shared with other programmers for modification. 

Open Source VS. Closed Source

The main difference between open source and closed source technologies is that open source is the computer software where the general public can access and use the source. While closed source software does not give access to its source code, meaning the general public cannot make any changes to it. You can use this table to compare both of these software technologies.

Open Source SoftwareClosed Source Software
The source code of open source software is public. The code can be modified by other users or organizations.The source code is protected in closed source software. The code can only be modified by the individual or organization that has created the software.
The open-source software is free to use and has a low-licensing cost, which means you can get your code licensed as open source for a very low price.Closed source software is expensive as it includes a base fee for software integration, services, and annual licensing and support fees.
No restrictions are placed on the user based on the usability and modification of the software.Many restrictions are needed to be heeded when using closed source software.
Open-source software is purchased with its source code.Closed source software is not purchased with its source code.
Examples: Firefox, Android, Thunderbird .Examples: Skype, JAVA, Microsoft office

Pros And Cons Of Using Open Source Technology

According to statistics, 78% of the companies run on open-source software. Here is a list of its pros and cons.

Pros

Free Of Cost: You can install open-source software for free without any upfront expenses. Businesses with tight budgets should use open source as it can lead to a significant amount of money-saving.

Scalability: Open source technology is highly scalable. It can be scaled up or down according to the business’s needs.

Community: Open source software has a huge community and is thriving due to the constant efforts of this extended community.

Licensing: All Open source software needs a copyleft license, and another perk of open source is that it offers convenient license schemes that are affordable. With a legal license, open-source software can be downloaded and used anywhere all over the world.

Cons

User-friendliness: Open source may not be an ideal choice for beginners, as the Graphical User Interface can be a bit difficult to navigate and it might take time for a user to develop an expertise in using open source.

Security: The source code present in the open-source software is free to edit. This means that the code can be used to invite vulnerabilities like identity theft and malicious transfers.

Maintenance: Although open source technology is free of cost, you may need third-party support for the implementation and maintenance of the software. This could result in hidden costs.

Support: Open source technology does not have extensive support to help you. So if you have a problem, you’d have to look up the solution online by checking in with relevant forums and communities.

Business Benefits Of Open Source 

Open source technology is thriving as, according to Statista, there were about 1.9 million JavaScript open-source projects in the Maven Central Repository in July 2021. Here is a list of business benefits of open source technology.

  1. Widely Used Software
  2. Financial Advantages
  3. An Engaging Community
  4. More Secure
  5. Future-Proof

Widely Used Software:

Open source technology is everywhere. Tools like Kafka, Elastic, and Apache Web Server are amongst the most commonly used software, and they are all open source. Due to its popularity, you can find numerous developers in the market to work for you as developers also prefer companies using open source as they know they won’t be locked into a proprietary solution. Moreover, due to its wide use, you can find numerous resources for learning, troubleshooting, and solving all your open-source problems.

Financial Advantages:

When you have two options, go for the one that costs you less and gets the job done. Open-source software can be downloaded for free. With bug fixes coming to the software from external sources, maintenance costs automatically go lower. Although you do have to spend some money on open-source, such as for continuous maintenance and configuration, open source still offers a good package allowing you cost savings.

An Engaging Community:

Open source boasts a huge and engaging community, which is one of the biggest business benefits of using open source. The open-source community helps each other out by delivering fixes to bugs and updates in new releases, providing solutions on forums, and helping in the development of the open-source software. The open-source community acts as a support system for all developers.

More Secure:

Some may argue that open source isn’t as secure because anyone can see the code. Though that might be the case, the ability to see source code also has its perks. With so many people being able to see the code, it is easier to spot and fix any vulnerabilities before they are exploited. This transparency allows bugs to be fixed faster, making your software more secure.

Future-Proof:

Well, the good news for all the open-source enthusiasts is that open source is here to stay. One of the business benefits of open source software is that it can never disappear. As long as someone has the source code for a project, it will be available forever. With numerous big companies using open source and new developments underway, it is safe to say that open source is going to be here for a very long time.

Web Development Technologies

Now that we have talked about the business benefits of open source technology let’s talk about all the open-source web development technology that can be used in your businesses. These are highly scalable frameworks and technologies that can help your business thrive. Here we have compiled a list of some of the best open-source technology for web development.

  1. Bootstrap
  2. Visual Studio Code
  3. Brackets
  4. Atom
  5. MongoDB

Community And Open-Source Movement

Open source movement enables the availability of the source code through a copyleft license. The primary objective of the movement was to produce high-quality programs by working cooperatively with other like-minded people and improving open source technology. 

The open-source movement branched from the free-software movement, which started in the 80s with the launching of the GNU project by Richard Stallman. But the main factor in the formalization of the open-source movement was OSI which is a non-profit organization founded by Bruce Perens and Eric.S Raymond. The OSI became the prominent supporter of the movement, with companies like IBM and Microsoft also supporting the cause.

Future Of Open Source Technologies 

It is no secret that the future of OSS is pretty bright. DigitalOcean’s seventh annual Current report surveyed 5,800 developers worldwide to determine how they felt about the future of the open-source community, and the overall result was optimistic.

Open source technology provides creative freedom to the developers and enables them to create innovative projects. It also boasts a huge and diverse community that constantly contributes to the making of successful open source projects.

Now you might be thinking, how does this huge community communicate? Well, the open-source community has numerous discussion forums available on the internet. These forums help the community share and solve each others’ issues. Here is a list of some of the best open source forum software you can use to build a community portal:

From small IT firms to multi-million dollar industries, everyone is adapting open source technology as their preferred method for developing software. Some of the developing open-source technologies include

  1. Artificial intelligence
  2. FOG computing
  3. Cloud software
  4. Remote work

Google is also one of the most significant contributors to OSS and has created over 2000 open source projects in the last decade. Projects like Android, Angular, Chromium, and Go are some of the most successful OSS projects from Google. Cloud platforms like AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud are also built on the foundation of OSS, with Microsoft claiming that over 30% of the VMs launched on Azure are running on Linux. 

With a huge community and high sustainability, open-source has integrated itself deeply into the IT industry and is here to stay.

Conclusion

Our company, Genetech Solutions, leads a team of technology experts who have worked with numerous clients using open source technology and helped them establish their businesses using open-source software. You can view our case studies to find out more about the work we have done.

We hope you enjoyed this article and it was helpful to you. Feel free to contact us if you have any queries.

I am a medical student and an avid fiction reader, with a penchant for travelling. I am currently working as a junior content writer at Genetech Solutions, one of Pakistan’s leading Software houses.

[avatar]

Minahil Aijaz