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5 Reasons the Future of Software is Open Source

Do any of these problems sound familiar?

  • Proprietary software is expensive.

  • Even supposedly tailored solutions still need to be customised.

  • When there’s a problem, you can’t fix it yourself.

But here’s the thing:

There’s a better option. Open source is a proven alternative to commercial software in a variety of sectors, and it’s growing fast. In fact, a recent survey found that almost 70% of corporate organisations are either contributing to or participating in open-source projects.

The trend is only going to continue. Here are our top 5 reasons why the future belongs to open source:

1: Service and Development - Stay Ahead of the Curve

The beauty of open source resides in the fact that its code is open and can always be tweaked, modified, and customised to your needs. Over the years, open-source communities and supporters have grown significantly in terms of size, responsiveness, and expertise. These enthusiastic and passionate experts ensure that the product you use consistently meets the highest-quality standards, even as new technologies emerge which threaten to make older tools obsolete.

"In real open source, you have the right to control your own destiny."

Linus Torvalds

Furthermore, open code allows for organisation-specific adjustments, a service which many commercial manufacturers don’t provide and a benefit which will also save your developers lots of time as they won’t need to be constantly debugging and making updates.

2: Innovate and Customise - New Features as You Need Them

The ability to customise an open-source project is one of its greatest benefits. This aspect of open software is not limited to initial development, but rather is something that can be done continuously over time as new forms of media and communication channels emerge and your organisation develops new needs. This means that any number of plugins, add-ons, and extensions can be integrated or removed from your product. An open code base allows you to reshape and re-outfit the software’s tools and features at any time. There is also the added benefit of developing the platform around your vision, not that of a commercial vendor, and also being able to create your own timelines for innovation.

3: Cost - Get More For Less

Many open-source platforms are priced at a fraction of the cost of proprietary software or of developing a solution in-house. Thus you can enjoy lower costs while also not being too strictly bound to contracts and subscription plans that keep you invested long after advancements in technology have made that software obsolete. It also saves you money on constantly having to upgrade and maintain your in-house software, while also offsetting the cost of training and implementation.

4: Flexibility and Familiarity - Software That’s Easy to Learn and Use

The market for proprietary software is saturated, and although many commercial tools are popular and well-documented, this does not always translate to user-friendly nor does it mean that good support networks are in place. By contrast, open-source communities are made up of contributors who are not always developers or other tech-savvy professionals, but instead include regular people who come from a variety of different backgrounds. This makes problem-solving much simpler, as you can often find  common ground with other users who have faced similar challenges. For example, you can have a look at the forum for our newsroom software Superdesk and see how Sourcefabric and our users have supported one another with various challenges.

5: Security - Open Source is Just as Secure as Proprietary Solutions

There is a misconception that open-source tools are somehow more vulnerable to attacks and other cyber-security threats, whereas studies have shown that open and closed-source software have about the same number of vulnerabilities.  The robustness of a particular product depends on the quality of its code and the support network that ensures its security. In some cases, the open-source community can respond to threats faster than a commercial provider. In this example, the Red Hat Security Response Team once reported a Linux flaw that allowed an unprivileged user to access to certain information. Within a few hours of it being reported, patches were being exchanged and tested, and later the same day the patches were committed and the problem was resolved.

Want to know more about our open-source tools for journalism? Find out how Sourcefabric can help you.