Open Source Vs Closed Source Software - Product Support

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Open Source Vs Closed Source Software - Product Support
By Joseph Devine


Once new software is unleashed into the current market, those who decide to use or develop the new software are often faced with the challenges of updating, protecting, maintaining, and overall improving the product. Because of the differences in structure between open and closed source software, the way in which it is supported and maintained varies as well.

Support for Closed Source

Closed, or proprietary software, is much different than open source software. The main difference between the two is the access of the source code. For closed source, access to the source code is denied and solely controlled by the developer of the software. This means that if a problem arises, or updates need to be made, the developer of the software is the only group that can make the appropriate changes.

This puts many companies and organizations at the mercy of the closed source software developers. If the developers choose not to update or fix any problems, the organization that utilizes the software will be stuck with a useless product. Having to filter any and all problems through one location causes problems to be solved at a very slow pace. Users are not given the opportunity to attempt to fix the software on their own. While there may be alternative fixes, these are often illegal to use with proprietary software.

The main argument for closed source software is the ability to control the quality of the product. While this is a valid argument, the needs of all users can often overwhelm the developers, causing changes to come very slowly, if at all.

Support for Open Source

Unlike closed source, open source software makes the access code accessible to all users and developers. This allows users and developers to quickly take care of any issues that arise with the software. Instead of having to take all of your concerns to a centralized group, the users and developers are given the chance to create their own fixes.

This kind of innovation allows users to truly customize and control their software, with the support of the developer whenever needed. The resources available to users of open source software far exceeds those who use proprietary software. The potential for users to customize their software to meet the needs of their organization is practically endless. Organizations are only limited to the reaches of their own creativity.

While closed source software is less customizable, open source is less simple to control as far as quality is concerned. The potential of the software is completely in the hands of the users, meaning that development can either be very fast of very slow. Without careful planning, open source software can cause confusion, inconsistencies, and even compatibility problems. Users of open source software must be careful to avoid this type of confusion.

Contact an open source software developer to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of open source software.


Joseph Devine

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