Open source vs. proprietary software: A look at the pros and cons


  • Provided by TechRepublic Premium
  • Published July 23, 2018
  • Topic TechRepublic Premium
  • Format PDF
Companies trying to decide between an open source and a proprietary solution may be stymied because there are often advantages and disadvantages to each one. This ebook examines both sides of the coin for the two kinds of software to help you weigh your choices.

From the ebook:

Open source software debuted 20 years ago in February. While arguments attempting to define its actual purpose (free speech versus free beer) sometimes seem perpetual, it has opened up new possibilities for organizations looking for affordable and customizable software code to help run their businesses and drive innovation.

Initial skepticism regarding free software and questions about the business model (“Why would programmers work for free?”) have led to steadfast enterprise adoption of open source software, with an array of options such as “completely free,” “free to a certain number of users/functions,” and “free but with paid support licenses.”

As someone who has administered hundreds of Linux servers (which run Red Hat via paid support subscriptions, although it’s worth pointing out that CentOS is a totally free alternative with largely the same code base), I can attest to the benefits that open source has provided both to organizations and the technology realm in general. Without it, the internet would be a far different place—much more limited, expensive, less robust, less feature-driven, and less scalable. Big name companies would be much less powerful and successful as well in the absence of open source software.

There’s something to be said for proprietary software as well, however; it also has a rich history of providing many proven benefits to organizations. If your business is trying to decide whether to go with open source or proprietary products, certain insights can help you make the choice. Of course, it’s worth pointing out that many companies don’t follow the “either/or” method but rely upon a blend of both open source and proprietary products. Let’s look at the pros and cons of each.

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