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Advantages and Disadvantages of Open Source Software
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When it comes to open source software, there are a number of factors to consider, some positive and some negative.  First, this particular type of software is actually free.  Released and distributed under the umbrella of specific terms for licensing, the purchaser would enter a special source code to use the product. Once the software has been installed, the user becomes restricted by the licensing requirements.

The dynamics associated with open source software include the following:

•    Source code included and must be used
•    Product is free
•    Modifications have to be allowed
•    No person or company can be discriminated against
•    No industry can be discriminated against
•    The author’s or programmer’s source code is to be respected
•    Licensing is neutral to technical
•    One license has to cover all people using the application

Open source is created and then given out fee.  Depending on the programmer and company, the application may be a standalone product or bundled in with other free or charged applications.  Pertaining to the advantages and disadvantages of open source software, the upside is that there are many different uses.  For instance, this type of software could cover things such as education, entertainment, ecommerce, and much more.  Some of the advantages are as follows:

•    Free – Again, while some hidden costs may exist, the software application itself costs you nothing.  Obviously, for many business owners trying to get a company started, this can be very beneficial.

•    Evolution – Open source software usually has a number of programmers and companies involved, which means as new technological advances are made, you get to enjoy them.  The fast evolution of open source software is very exciting.

•    Hands-On – On the positive side of the advantages and disadvantages of open source software, you will also find that many of the upgrades or modifications are things you can do, which eliminates the need to purchase additional items or hire a professional programmer to complete the installation.

•    Multiple Vendors – Next, whenever you purchase a shrink wrapped application, you are locked into one particular vendor.  This means that if you run into problems or have questions, you have to work with that vendor only.  Unfortunately, even the best support can take time and sometimes, money.

Now the downside of advantages and disadvantages of open source software, you would need to consider:
•    No Production – Although programmers of open source software have the best of intentions to continue on with the project, some turn their attention to other things.  For you, this could mean working with a bug filled application and finding you have no fixes that will ever be offered, unless you fork out good money to an independent programmer.
•    Support – With standard applications, you are buying a legal license, which protects you and the seller.  In this case, the company that sells the software is obligated to provide you with quality customer and technical support.  However, with open source software you could be faced with situations of needing some quick answers but find that you either does not get it in a timely manner, get no support at all, or you have to pay a significant fee for help.

•    Features – Then, most types of open source software are very innovative because these are up and coming programs.  Even so, you might find that a friend’s company that uses this type of software thinks the included features are over the top but then for your specific business, they may not add any or enough value.

As you can see, when it comes to the advantages and disadvantages of open source software, there are some definite pros and cons to consider.  It could very well be that this is the perfect solution for you, helping you to start or grow a business without having to expend a lot of money.  However, before you determine this to be the perfect solution, you need to carefully analyze the various advantages and disadvantages of open source software to ensure this is what you really want and need.

The solution might be that you use open source software along with standard software, finding the perfect balance.  There are many exciting possibilities associated with open source software but it is imperative to do all your homework before choosing the right application for your personal or business use.

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