in Open Source

FOSS vs Proprietary – Who cares about ‘The War’

Free software and open standards have always been a point of debate for the confusing line between hardcore tech world and the whole other world of users. However, very recently, tech pundits have beaten a retreat on the issue, claiming that free software and open standards do not really matter much. This can only be understood better if one understands the factors that have always been taken in to account in the face off between free and proprietary software or open and close standard hardware.

Open Source Software

Workability of the Technology

This is, by far, the most important factor. The end users always depend upon this factor. As a considered factor for this important debate, it does not actually add value to any particular group. The idea is that if the software works, most users will not care about its open or close standards or whether it is free. However, as the proprietary software do get financial backup to constantly develop, it adds to their value for the end users.

Convenience and Easy Maintenance of the Software

This point has always added some bulk to the proprietary software. After all, as users claim, they want to get fast results and do not want to spend a ton of time on maintaining the software and literally turning in to a system integrator.

Economical and Sharing

This has always been the open standard USP. After all, if you are keen on using the software you will have to think of its affordability too. Free software is well, free, so no contest – they will be very lucrative. However, now the proprietary software is also bringing their market range to quite affordable levels and also in some cases they do not have a version of competitive free software. The only edge that the free software still retains is that it is easier to share free versions with your friends. Proprietary software has key and a license that stop more than one user from using the same copy.

Customization and Development

Let’s face it, constant research and development work on the software requires finance. Free software do lack this from the word go. So, obviously, if you are interested in getting enhanced versions of the software or even adding features that can literally help software customization, one has to turn to the proprietary version.

End Users vs. Manufacturers

Free software favours the end users. There is no doubt about that. They are free, do not compromise on sharing and arguably the free software and open standards were established initially keeping the end users in mind. Manufacturers have continually claimed to want the best for end users. However, it has been observed that the idea of the proprietary software is more based on a generic market than anything else.

However, above and beyond all these factors the tech pundits are claiming that the debate is more or less void. The users of proprietary software do not care much about the fate of the free software. So, ultimately when it comes to this issue, it all depends on the users and their bend of mind.

  1. What about open standards? Proprietary software will only use open standards when they are forced to (typically). This is a huge problem down the road, when all of our legacy data is unreadable. Or even now, when you can only share document of you all have the latest version of "ProgramX"

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