Press "Enter" to skip to content

Open Source & Proprietary Software: The Difference

There are different types of software and your choice will depend on the needs you have at hand. Whenever you are choosing software, you have the options of open source software and proprietary software which has to be purchased.

Each of these different software has its benefits as well as disadvantages and as such, telling the difference can be quite useful. When you have to choose between open source and proprietary software, you need to be properly informed which will then enable you to make the best decisions.

Open Source Software

This is freely available software that has been offered for your use free of charge. The open source projects are managed by volunteers and the community that maintains the software creates the documentation and support needed for new users. Open source software does not come with any threads attached which means that you can use it for both personal and commercial uses.

Open source applications are also easier to manage since they do not have any tedious licenses to renew or a license check that prevents you from accessing software features when the license has expired. Additionally, you do not have to worry much about updates and software patches when dealing with open source software. These are all made widely available as soon as they are made and your software will be able to operate more securely as a result.

Open source software is also known for being more secure. The fact that these software projects are maintained by the community means that bugs are easy to detect and any vulnerabilities are patched well ahead. With this, you get to have peace of mind when using the application since it is actively maintained and regularly updated to ensure that your information and computer systems are safe from malware and other threats to the integrity of your information.

The active involvement of the open source community in the maintenance of these projects means that bugs are caught early and ecuity patches are applied as soon as they have been made available. When you are working on open source, you have more freedom to change the software to cater to your needs.

Armed with the documentation of the software, you can make changes to the structure and function of the software to enable you carry out your tasks more effectively. If there are portions of the software that you will not require for your undertaking, you can remove these components without breaking the entire software. The ability to modify open source software also makes it popular for startups who can customize open source applications to cater to their needs.

Additionally, open source software does not come with many terms and conditions and as such, its use is simple and straightforward. You do not have to worry about the legality of the application you are using to organize your information when it is open source. However, this is not usually the case for proprietary software which needs license renewals from time to time and this can be hard to track and even costly for startups and small businesses.

When there are no software licenses to be renewed, your business or organization will be more effective and less stressed. The open source licenses also allow modification of the individual modules within the software and as such, you can easily customize software features and functionality to cater to your needs.

With the documentation available, it is so much easier to work with open source software than proprietary software. The community actively maintained online documentation that is regularly updated with the latest information. This ensures that the people who use such applications will be more productive with teh applications. When they run into any problems, challenges or obstacles, the online documentation will be more than enough for them to troubleshoot their application and complete the task at hand.

Proprietary Software

This is licensed software that you have to pay for in order to use. These applications are known to be specifically designed to handle one aspect of a business. For instance, some of teh applications are designed to only handle database functionality while others are meant to work with spreadsheets. As such, any other function that needs to be carried out within a business or organization will require specialized software for it.

If your organization is a special one, proprietary software is better for your needs as compared to open source software. Once you have paid for the licenses, you will be able to access all the features of the software and carry out your tasks with ease. Additioally, these software come with their own specialized documentation which can also be found on the software company website.

Online documentation of these applications is important but some companies are also known to provide training to teh people that will be using the software. Owing to the specific nature of these applications, you cannot perform functions that it does not have. For instance, you cannot use a proprietary database application to make presentations.

Narrowing down software function and purpose has benefits but it also has its downsides. At a byusness for instance, the need to perform different tasks on information means that the cost of software acquisition might get very expensive. If the company needs to upgrade and scale up, this means that a lot of money will be used to pay for the software license, train the employees and maintain the other aspects of these software applications.

If you have to work online, there will be additional charges for the cloud aspect of using teh application. Being paid applications, proprietary applications are known to cost companies and startups a huge portion of their budget every year. Depending on the function of the software, this can be a good thing but it is no longer the same when there are free open source alternatives available which are capable of the same performance and tasks.

There are also instances where proprietary software solutions are the only viable ones. For instance, a company that deals in research will ask for proprietary solutions to be developed for them at a fee which then means that they will no longer have to depend on open source applications. Specialized applications rarely have open source alternatives and as such, proprietary applications are the only feasible solution in this case.

In conclusion, open source software and proprietary software have a lot of differences between them. One is free while the other has to be purchased or licensed in order to be used. Armed with the benefits and application areas of each, it will now be much easier for you to make a decision concerning what software to get for your business, startup or organization. Luckily, there are trial versions of proprietary software which lets you explore their features for a while before deciding to purchase.