The use of open-source software has increased in recent years, with some governments - such as the United Kingdom - looking to use it extensively. It is a way for communities to work together on projects that are not just theirs but also benefit their citizens and the overall community. This article highlights the benefits of open source software, specifically government agencies.
Open Source Software Is More Reliable
There is no single entity or entity responsible for maintaining an individual project, which means that companies and individuals can create their updates without waiting for others to implement them first. That allows organizations and users alike to work with updated versions much more quickly than closed systems would allow. As users can also download updates for free, it is much more cost-efficient than using proprietary systems.
Open-source software has better security features than licensed or proprietary products because a large community of developers openly develops the code. These developers can review each other's code to identify bugs or vulnerabilities before release. With proprietary software, it can take months for developers to respond to new security threats, and when they do, the patch is often limited in scope and may not completely fix the problem. That can leave many users vulnerable to attack. Given this fact and the increasing number of security breaches in recent years, organizations are looking for ways to improve their ability to deal with these attacks. The first step is to dispose old models that assume proprietary security controls are good enough. The open-source approach provides an opportunity for a paradigm shift toward more secure systems by allowing businesses and consumers access to code that they can examine themselves.
With open-source software, there is a community of developers constantly working on its weaknesses and ensuring that any flaws are corrected as soon as possible. Government agencies can do that in a few days or weeks, without the need for large IT teams. In comparison, closed systems experience viruses for more extended periods before patches are released, which means the system is exposed for longer. That is one of the primary reasons why organizations use open-source software to secure and protect data.
Open Source Software Is Easier To Install
One of the main advantages of open source software is that it is more commonly and easily installed than proprietary systems. That makes it easier for organizations to implement within their environment. For instance, many government agencies in America use Linux-based operating systems. They will often still run Windows locally because they do not want to pay extra money for a more secure operating system. The open-source approach allows them to install all the features they require easily while remaining secure at the same time.
Open Source Software Is Easy To Use
Many government agencies use computers and programs daily. That made it difficult for people to do their jobs efficiently, causing them to spend more time figuring out how the technology worked rather than doing their jobs. In the past, this could be a very long-winded process and often caused problems for individuals who were not experts on coding or programming.
However, open-source software removed some of the problems that many users had with programs. For example, it is much easier to use and understand open source than closed source.
Open Source Software Is Free To Use
One of the main reasons many governments have been moving towards using Linux is that it is free to use and install. In addition, most operating systems are free to use and download, which means that organizations can download them for free. That makes it an attractive option for budget-conscious governments looking to save money and make their services efficient.
The vast majority of popular software used by governments worldwide remains open-source. That includes the Linux kernel and operating systems such as Ubuntu and CentOS. These are the most common systems governments use to run their services. They are also open source and developed by communities to offer something more efficient than proprietary software.
Open Source Software Offers Governments A Lot Of Freedom
Another benefit of open-source software is that companies and governments can download it for free or very cheaply, meaning they do not have to spend a lot of money on procuring the software or licenses. There are various benefits that this can bring, including improved security and increased efficiency.
Further, open-source software is updated and maintained by an entire community of developers. That means that they will be able to identify and fix any problems that might occur much faster than in a closed system.
Lower Costs of Development and Maintenance
Using open-source software means no need to have external developers come in to help with the development process. That saves government agencies on the cost of hiring developers and the time it takes to complete projects. As a result, the government can save millions of dollars every year by relying more on OSS for their software needs rather than hiring external consultants who could demand hefty fees for their services and add burden on operational costs.
In its truest form, the Internet of Things (IoT) creates entirely new industries and disrupts existing ones. That can be an incredible advantage for companies developing new IoT devices and applications, but it also establishes a host of security risks that must be addressed. IoT security is crucial due to its newness, shallow adoption, and general lack of formalized best practices.
It is Better Supported
Even if you choose to use some proprietary software, your government should be using open-source software. Open Source Software has a massive support community just waiting to help you with questions or problems you may have on your system. Without the level of support provided by the open-source community, companies like Microsoft and Intel would not have been able to establish themselves as they have.
More companies are using open source infrastructure than ever before, including Google, Facebook, Amazon Web Services, and Rackspace Cloud Servers -- all-powerful players with tremendous resources. That means that when a problem is found in an open-source system, there is a good chance that you will see support from one of these companies. And if you do not, you will at least have other companies who will help you.
Many open-source solutions are highly adaptable because their source code is easy to modify. That gives users great control over their configurations, which means they can change settings on the fly whenever needed. In some cases, it is becomes practical to change features or add new ones without waiting for vendors or hiring developers. This flexibility is vital for many organizations because it is much easier to deploy the software in an environment that fits the business needs.
Open-source software helps governments: deliver citizen-centered services, make more informed decisions, save taxpayer dollars, safeguard sensitive data and improve transparency and accountability. And it inspires new business models by providing an avenue to monetize valuable previously underwater assets. Governments worldwide are reaping these benefits and more, now that open source has become a strategic imperative for public organizations everywhere.
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