Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Best Things in Life are Open Source

It seems that after all this time since Open Source (OS) is around, there still are people with misconceptions about this model for software development. In this post, I want to try to explain what are the reasons I like the OS and mainly what is its strength.

Open Source's greatest power doesn't come form the fact that the software developed under this model comes free of charge, as some people might think. Although saving some money by using free software, might seem like a good idea, the real reason why I believe this model was invented is because it gives it's users the power of choice. By being open and allowing it's users to see the source code, open source opens a gate towards a plethora of opportunities that wouldn't otherwise be possible, if you would use commercial closed source software.

By using OS software, it doesn't mean that you don't have to pay anything, as a matter of fact the great advantage is that you can buy support not just from the software creators, but from third parties that also know the software very well. Because of this and because usually there is more than one choice when it comes to an Open Source application with a certain functionality, the support you get is usually of high quality compared to that of a commercial application. The competition in the OS world is good because it also spurs innovation, innovation which is necessary for the various Open Source service vendors in order to keep their business on top and keep their clients.

By adopting Open Source as a development model, as a company, you can sell support, training, customization and other related services around your application, building a healthy business model. Another great advantage is that you can create communities around your applications that will help you in developing and improving them.

While single vendor integrated solutions do have their advantages, I would still go to an Open Source/Free Software solution over an integrated commercial one anytime and that is because I love my freedom of choice and I love to be able to control how I build my applications over being told how to do it and depend on a vendor to support my needs. In the end it all is a matter of choice, so what path would you take?

Playing for Change