Cartoon by John Klossner
This could be one battle that could go on for a long time. One that always looks at providing software solutions to business enterprises at the lowest costs possible or at no cost at all — Open Source Software; and there is another which promises the provision of the best-in-the-business software solutions to large organizations and also the promise of a brand name, but at a higher cost (which is considered worth-it, by many firms) – Proprietary Software.
On the one hand, there is the belief that proprietary software is famous for stability and easy deployment; and the biggest organizations run after them as they are not only trusted but also believed to bring in improvements in the functioning of business. On the other hand, there is another set of organizations that deem Open Source software will be the next big thing in terms of providing the same software solutions as offered by the proprietary ones, but for free or very low costs. However, there still are zillions of companies that work on either of these software solutions.
Why Open Source?
The primary strength of open source software products lies in it’s cost; in that firms have very little to spend in installing them into their business systems. Secondly, these solutions can be customized according to business requirements (unlike proprietary). Another motivation for firms using open source is that they take the source code and develop it further and have a copy of the source code, as opposed to software solutions that do not normally provide a copy of the source code There is also the possibility whereby certain firms buy open software customize it with experts and re-sale the same for a higher price.
Why Proprietary Software?
Though open source comes freely to firms, there are several employee users who aren’t too impressed and show resistance to them and consider licensed software more easy to use. As explained earlier, open source quite often needs to be customized and for this there is the requirement of an expert who possesses open source skills. However, the scarcity of personnel with open source skills sets (which is frustrating). Applicants/Personnel with open source technology skill sets tend to demand higher pay. Apart from this, there are also factors like trust, ease of use, expert business solutions, stability, after-sale services that make proprietary software solutions even now the most sought after software products.
All said and done, it is essential for us to know that though the battle between open source and proprietary software will be on for years to come, the fact remains that each of them have their own target market and these targeted business enterprises are quite happy with whichever software offering they have bought. It often depends on the comfort level of organizations as to which solution is more profitable for them after considering all factors for example cost, customization features, user-friendliness, consistency, and most importantly provision of superlative business solutions.
Fortunately, both open source and proprietary have been catering to the above mentioned needs (and more) of several organizations and are successful in their league.