What is Open Source Software and Why is it Better for Business?
What is Open Source Software?
According to the Open Source Initiative, open source software is software that can be freely used, changed, and shared (in modified or unmodified form) by anyone. Most software cannot be legally modified or shared my anyone other than the company that developed it and holds the copyright. In order to use this proprietary software, users generally must pay a fee for a license and agree that they will not do anything with the software that the authors have not specifically permitted.
Open Source software is very different. Its authors typically develop it in a public and collaborative way, and make its source code available to anyone else who desires to alter or share it
Why is it Better for Business?
This point almost goes without saying as the first benefit of open source software. It’s free. It’s available with few or no copyright restrictions for implementation in most any scenario.
With Open Source software, the core code is available for all to view and manipulate. At first glance, it might seem counter-intuitive that this level of transparency is actually good for security. But it is. Since Open Source products are open to public view, vulnerabilities are generally quickly discovered and fixed quickly by the user community that depends on them. On the other hand, vulnerabilities in closed products like Microsoft’s Internet Explorer web browser might take weeks or even months to be fixed.
What is more likely to be more reliable, software created by a small group of developers, or one created by thousands of developers? Just as there are thousands of developers working every day to improve the security of open source software, there are just as many innovating new features for these products.
How many times have you been using a piece of software and wished it could do just one extra thing, or something differently that would make your job so much easier. With closed, copyrighted software, you are at the developer’s mercy as to whether a feature request is even considered much less implemented. But since open source software is not locked, it’s relatively simple and inexpensive to expand it or customize it for a particular job.
How do companies who work with open source software make a living at all if it’s free? By offering support to those who need it. As a result, these companies tend to be radical about providing excellent support to their users. In addition, open source software tends to create a welcoming user community that does a surprisingly good job of supporting itself even apart from the software creators.
WordPress is an Open Source
Web Development Platform
Because WordPress is open source software, its users enjoy a web site that offers better cost, better security, better quality, better flexibility and better support. These are only some of the reasons why WordPress is by far the largest content management system on the web, currently powers over 20% of the Internet (and growing).