What are the Benefits of Open Source?

nexB What are the Benefits of Open Source/FLOSS?

By Erika Nunotani August 03, 2016

Why Open Source Software/FLOSS?

Open source software is software that can be publicly modified and/or shared. More specifically, we are talking about FLOSS which stands for Free/Libre Open Source Software which refers to freedom (libre) and not price. Open source software is composed of source code open to anyone for use or modification. Because of this type of public collaboration, there are many benefits to using open source for your organization or for yourself.

Quality

When source code is free to view and modify, more people can help improve software. There is no limit with open source—no company can restrict the amount of innovative ideas that will improve the software. In addition, code is reviewed by many people so bugs can be found and fixed quicker. This means that code is more secure and efficient since flaws are often fixed faster compared to proprietary software. Finally, developers who have passion for technological progress enjoy spending their time and knowledge making programs better, more reliable, and more secure.

Community

Most of what open source stands for is the value of community and collaboration. Being able to view the code is essential in learning the behavior of the software. However, the amount of support forums and various chats also help programmers to learn more deeply about the software. Being an active contributor to open source is beneficial to a developer and builds their reputation in the community (and with some potential employers).

Reliability

Because you have access to the source code, you can know exactly what is in open source software. With proprietary software, you have to trust the vendor for both code security and reliability.

Freedom

Businesses or individuals have the ability to make changes to open source software to personalize it or make it fit their needs. Proprietary software usually does not allow modifications along with many other rules and obligations. Customers are also able to avoid being tied to one company’s proprietary software and have the freedom to choose another. With open source programs, customers can choose when to change or upgrade their software.

Cost

Open source software is available at little or no cost for the software itself. There may be costs for internal or third-party training, support or other services, but you decide what services you want and who provides them. You are not captive to a single supplier. Companies and individuals often prefer open source programs over proprietary ones due to significant cost differences.

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