Open Source Web Development and Proprietary software packages are not poles apart. Although there are certain characteristics that set them apart, there are some other features that are common too. We can think of open source and closed source as two different development methodologies that have their own underlying philosophies. The decision actually depends upon individual requirements and preferences.
Just to make things clear, here is a detailed discusses about open source and proprietary software:
There are two types of open source development. Community open source software are developed, managed and improved by a community of developers without any remuneration. These projects may or may not be copyrighted by the developers. They are typically nonprofit projects.
Commercial open source software has full copyrights of the developers. The patients and trademarks are completely controlled by a single entity. The software may be distributed either free or for a fee that is decided by the developers.
Pros of Open Source
- Free to download and use: The software is free to download and use. This includes the source code. Even if it is commercial open source software, you generally get the source code to modify and customize as per your requirements.
- Support: Open source has an enthusiastic support community and the developers provide detailed documentation along with information on forums, newsgroups, emails etc.
- Open source software have a high level of interoperability.
- They have fewer bugs and can be fixed faster. Since the source code is available, customers are free to apply their own fixes too.
- Open source generally has better security too.
- There is no vendor lock in for open source software.
Cons of Open Source
- Usability: Open source packages are not always built with an aim of marketing to unskilled end users. They are built for skilled developers who can convert them into usable and easy to operation applications for end users.
- Business risk: Unless you are using open source from vendors such as Magento or Red Hat etc, you are pretty much on your own.
Pros Of Proprietary Software
- Usability is the strongest feature of this type of software. Products are designed for marketing to end users.
- Product stability is another great feature of proprietary software. Products are designed and updated and paid upgrades are released over a period of time until the product is stable.
- Product ownership and accountability is one of the strongest feature of proprietary software.
- Support is generally tailored as per customer implementations of their products. Trained representatives provide support (as opposed to open forums and communities in open source software)
Cons of Proprietary Software
- Dependency: The software is what the vendor makes it. You cannot modify it in any way.
- Opacity: The source is closed and there is no way you can fix anything yourself. You are required to raise a request with the vendor and they will decide whether the code will be modified or not.
So, weigh all the features and compare them to your requirements before you select one for your next project.
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