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Open source code has an intriguing history. When it first surfaced as an option decades ago, there were two factions--one that saw it as a new phenomenon that would unite the industry, and another that viewed it with considerable suspicion.
Those days seem to have passed, though. Today open-source code is viewed as a viable option, but there are issues that come with the territory.
What follows is a breakdown of the open-source advantages, which make for a convincing argument for going open when you make your software choices.
The first and most obvious advantage of using open-source code software is availability. There are plenty of choices on the market, and they’ve reached the point where most if not all are buildable.
That means you can make a choice and tinker with the code to suit your needs. That can lead to new approaches and solutions, and over time there’s a good chance that will often lower the cost of ownership.
Going forward, it can also help improve the overall quality of software design, and that can lead to benefits across an organization.
One reason open source software has been gaining ground as an option is the long and mostly impressive track record it now has.
Thousands of developers are actively going through open-source code on a daily basis and making changes, and those changes add up to a competitive process. The changes that make it into the final version are the best ones available, which lowers the security risk and leads to code with fewer security risks.
If your situation is such that you really want to improve and fine-tune the software, you can also outsource it to a development company. This possibility has evolved into what amounts to a secondary market, so there are plenty of choices available.
The increased security that’s now available in the open-source world is a huge factor in its rising popularity. Most if not all of the security issues have been addressed and solved, and an added side benefit is that it makes the evaluation process easier.
A savvy programmer or developer can quickly see whether the source code is good or not, and they can also spot any tricks that are being used that might introduce bugs if a particular company is engaging in that practice.
It’s hard to underestimate the ability to do a line-by-line evaluation, and it's far easier to do that in an open-source world.
The cost equation for open source software starts with the fact that it’s free, of course. But there’s a lot more that goes into the cost/quality equation.
The simple fact is that quality-wise, open-source software has gained ground and closed the gap considerably when compared to commercial alternatives. Why spend money on proprietary software when programmers and developers can put their energy into solving other business problems?
Another element of this equation is the versatility factor. Open-source software typically runs on multiple platforms, which means you can choose the one that best suits your needs. That lowers costs because choosing the optimal platform will also save you time and money in the coding and development process.
Integration is one of the biggest potential headaches that programmers and developers face when they’re forced to purchase commercial software. There’s no way to know if a requested integration will be optimized for your application, and if you’re trying to integrate across multiple platforms there may be a waiting period of weeks or even months to get the code and information you need to get the job done right.
Open-source software can eliminate this headache completely, and at the very least it makes it a lot easier to tackle. Integration issues are a fact of life, generally speaking, and if they get especially thorny you can always turn to a development company for help. It’s the best of both worlds because you get to control the results and make adjustments on the fly.