Open Source Software: Weighing the Pros and Cons

Categories:Articles & White Papers

ThinkingOpen source software has generated a lot of interest, and its usage has increased as more people recognize its value. As a result, CIOs and other IT professionals must carefully weigh the pros as well as the cons associated with open source software as they evaluate their own organization’s needs.
 
There are myriad pros that come with open source because it encourages collaboration and innovation. With little to no licensing requirements, it is easily managed and distributed and isn’t subject to maintenance charges. Since the source code is accessible to all, anyone can take the initiative to solve problems, make improvements or simply learn more about it. Another significant advantage that open source software offers is the fact that code isn’t tied to the company that created it—it can develop via its user community regardless of the success or failure of a company.
 

In addition to the many pros, CIOs should also take note of some of the cons. For example, open source software doesn’t come completely free as there can be unexpected costs for implementation, administration and support. It’s also important to keep in mind that there can be a learning curve, and IT professionals may be left on their own since open source software does not come with the same type of support system that commercial products have. Finally, since multiple development efforts can happen simultaneously, it might be confusing for users to figure out which version is which and whether or not it’s compatible with other software.

 
What do you think are the pros and cons of open source software? To read more, check out the slide show at CIOInsight.com.

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