There are many advantages of open-source software, a fact that is also proven by their popularity. First of all they are useful when it comes to money. They have lower development cost, which means you can save money thanks to them, because individuals and smaller companies have the chance of reducing the number of programmers they have to pay for. They are also useful in bug detection and correction, a problem that many companies have to face that work online. With more people viewing the code from more diverse backgrounds, bugs will be found and fixed much faster, thus the risk of getting infected with viruses is much lower. Stability is another pro of open source software. There is also another big advantage of open source software and that is that it is usually completely free. It is free to use, free to distribute, and free to modify, so using it doesn’t cost you anything.
Open source software can be freely used and modified. With these programs you have the right to redistribute modifications and improvements to the code, and to reuse other open source code. This way the software to be shared by large communities. You also have the right to use the software in any way. This also helps to improve the quality of the product, and to improve its functionality.
By using open source software you and your company will have more independence. With a closed source project on the other hand, you might experience great problems if the developer goes out of business and you need your software updated or fixed. This is not a problem for open source software: with the code open, any company can step in to fill the void.
Naturally open source software has also its disadvantages. One of the main problems is disclosure of trade secrets, which can happen because of the open code. Having the code for a program available implies revealing how it works and this also includes disclosure of algorithms and how a device with a unique design might function. Revealing such type of information that is relevant to your business to others companies can cause duplication and loss of financial advantage.
Another disadvantage of open source software is that as so many developments are going on at the same time it is hard to keep track of which version is the most up to date. The lack of advertising and frequency of developments can sometimes create confusion of which product is the most up to date. Many of the open source programs are developed from many different peoples codes and this can make it difficult to sort out who’s is who’s. This disadvantage also causes the risk of a closed source code that might find itself in there and therefore render the project illegal.