What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Open Source Software?

Open source software is free, but that is not the only benefit. Open source software has liberal license terms and allows the users a lot of flexibility and no vendor lock-in. Open source software also comes with the support of a community and future innovations are likely. Sometimes, thousands of programmers are involved with the software.

Open source software is dynamic and constantly evolving, since many programmers are fixing bugs and adding features. Rather than requiring costly updates, open source updates are free. Also, open source software encourages business owners to actually look at code, rather than thinking of it as mysterious magic performed by programmers. Open source applications are available for a variety of uses, including ecommerce, word processors and entertainment.

There are, of course, a few disadvantages to using open source software. Sometimes open source software projects fizzle out, as is the case with commercial software. The biggest problem with open source software is that there is no timely support system to help you. You might find a bug in the program that you will need to pay someone to fix. Because programmers generally work on open source software out of their own free will and on their own time, you can’t expect them to help you.

And, of course, if there’s a particular addition that would improve your business or personal use, you may or may not find any support or interest in this feature from the community. Again, you will likely have to pay for it. However, given that you will not spend money purchasing software, you will probably still save money by using open source software.

It also depends, though, on the particular software you are considering. Some open source software is reliable, while newer programs can be more difficult to work with. Also, if there aren’t any programmers working on the software to provide updates, you might be in trouble. It helps to check the forums to see if the community is active.

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