Comparing Open Source and Closed Source Software: Differences and Advantages
This is a typical practice for business owners (who are looking for a software solution for their companies) to choose between closed source and opens source software.
This choice is not always obvious. Every software has its specialties, characteristics, pros and cons.
In this post, we will take a look at support, usability, security, and other aspects in both closed source and opens source software solutions and will highlight the vivid benefits and drawbacks of both systems. But first, let’s clarify what open source and closed source software are.
What is Open Source Software?
Open-source software (OSS) comes under a licensing agreement that allows computer code to be shared, viewed, and modified by other organizations and users. Such software uses the code freely available on the Internet. OSS is open to the public that is why it constantly updates, improves, and expands as more people can work on its improvement.
Open source feels like what the Internet was supposed to be about. However, it should also come with a warning label.
What is Closed Source Software?
Closed source software (CSS) is the opposite of OSS. It represents the software that uses the proprietary and closely guarded code. No one can access, copy, and alter that software except the original authors of this software.
According to the concept of CSS, you are not purchasing the software but only pay to use it.
Comparing Two Software Systems in Detail
In order to understand the specialties of open OSS and CSS better, we propose you to compare their five basic aspects: source code availability, usability, security, support, and pricing.
Open Source vs Closed Source: Source Code Availability
The OSS solutions provide a chance to change the source code without any restrictions. Users may develop what they want, getting benefits from innovations developed by others within the user community. The source code is easily accessible, so it enables developers to improve the already existing programs.
СSS is more limited than OSS as the source code cannot be changed or viewed. However, these restrictions are what may contribute to CSS reliability and security.
Open Source vs Closed Source: Usability
Usability is a painful point of OSS. User manuals are written for developers rather than to ordinary users. These guides are failing to conform to the standards and structure. For CSS, usability is a real merit. Documentation is typically well written and contains detailed instructions.
Open Source vs Closed Source: Security
Security is a rather controversial question. The OSS code can be viewed, shared, and modified by the community. It means that anyone can fix, upgrade and test the broken code. However, the source code is open for hackers because of its availability.
Only a vendor can fix closed source software. You have to send a request if something goes wrong with the software and wait for the answer.
Open Source vs Closed Source: Support
In this particular comparison, closed source software is the winner. The cost is about the option to contact support and get it in one business day in most cases. Responses must be well organized and documented. For OSS, such an option is not provided. The only possible support options are useful articles, forums, and hired experts.
Open Source vs Closed Source: Price Policy
The open-source solutions are typically free of cost software. However, they may have costs for extra opportunities such as additional services, added functionality, or extra assistance.
CSS is usually paid. Its costs may vary depending on the complexity of the software. Actually, many companies provide free trials to convince buyers that their software is the right fit.
In conclusion, let’s generalize the benefits and drawbacks of open source and closed source software.
What are the Pros and Cons of OSS?
- Pros: One of the most essential benefits of OSS is that open source software is the cheaper option, even if there are such outlays as training staff and enhancing infrastructure. Additionally, open-source software proposes a high level of flexibility. It is more reliant on blogs and forums in terms of customer service.
- Cons: OSS flexibility is often questioned because of its effect on the end-user and because it might have a negative impact on software growth. The lack of controlled security is a core reason that organizations might shy away from open source.
What are the Pros and Cons of CSS?
- Pros: The closed source looks better due to the quality of the support and the degree of customizability it provides. Timely support is usually on hand for those who need it. Security is another huge factor.
- Cons: CSS can run into six figures in terms of cost. Users will usually have to pay a base fee and licensing and support charges. Additionally, some users think that viewing or making changes to source code is often restricted by closed source software is seen as a downfall.