When you are looking for new software for your home or office, do you ever consider using open source software? If not, then you could be missing out on some of the best software available today.
Open source software is software that is designed to be free, with the original code available to anyone. This software can be taken and used or even modified by anyone without asking permission or paying for the rights. From a budget standpoint, this can be very attractive. But there are many reasons why you should be using open source software on your desktop computer.
Today, let’s look at some of the benefits of using open source software on your desktop so you can understand the true power of the open source community and how it can help you.
1. The Freedom of Choice
One of the biggest benefits of open source software is the freedom it brings to you. If you choose open source, you have the freedom to use it however you want. On top of that, there are often many different options out there for you as well. Chances are, there are several software packages out there designed to do what you need it to do. This gives you the ability to choose the software that is best for you and will keep you from being locked into proprietary software that may or may not do what you need it to do.
2. Be a Part of a Community
Many of us often feel like we are on our own with a software application. With proprietary software, support can often be limited to only what the software application maker provides. Open source software, on the other hand, is different. Open source software is designed by a community of people that is usually made up of developers that use the software, themselves. On top of that, these applications often provide forums for users of their software to discuss the software and offer their assistance. If you want to be a part of something bigger and you don’t want to feel alone when you choose a software application, then go for open source software.
3. Better Quality
Because the software is designed and supported by a large community that is made up of people that use the software on a daily basis, chances are the software will be better quality compared to closed source software. If bugs do crop up, as they always do, they are often fixed much faster than closed source software. In many cases, you can get a fix for a problem in a matter of days. Compare that to closed source software that often only does updates and releases a few times a year. Because they get issues fixed faster, the software will just work much better. If you need applications that will work for your home or business while providing all the features you need, then have a look at open source software, I’m betting you will be glad you did.
4. Improved Customization
We don’t all fit into the mold that software developers think we do. In our businesses and even at home, we often have custom needs from our software. It’s just how the world works. Unfortunately, if you used closed source software, trying to get them to make a modification of the software just for you is next to impossible. After all, they have to market to the masses, not just your specific needs. With open source software, you can get the source code for the software. Because it’s freely available for anyone to see, you can modify it for your needs. While not everyone is a coder, having this option available definitely expands your possibilities. When you finish, you can even share your changes with the rest of the community and it may even make it into an official release.
Security is more important than ever in today’s connected world. How many hacks have we heard about this year alone? Too many, if you ask me. The software you use must be secure. Unfortunately, hackers are always looking for ways to get into software. Because of the rapid development of many open source software packages, many security holes and bugs can get fixed much faster. With the community support, security breaches are found quicker and more easily patched. The end result is an application that is more secure and stays up to date and secure as time moves forward.
Even open source software isn’t free. However, most open source software is free to use, which means you can save a lot of money in the long run. While you still have development and maintenance costs, there isn’t a cost to using the software. You can download and install the software on your servers or computers without having to worry about the cost of purchasing the software. This means you can download and test the software without having to worry about paying for it just to see if it works. If it doesn’t, you can switch to a different application anytime you want. While no software is ultimately free, you will save quite a bit of money over the course of using the software because there are no upfront costs that you have to pay.
7. Greater Flexibility
Because of the community designed nature of open source software, you will often find it to be way more flexible than closed source software. Proprietary software is designed to work in a specific set of ways and you aren’t allowed to deviate from that in any way. However, with open source software, the community doesn’t really care how you use it. You can install it and use it however you wish. On top of that, if you can code, you can customize it however you prefer to get the results you need from the software. Add to that the cost of the software makes it easy to switch to other options if you to discover a problem you didn’t consider before you started using it. If flexibility is what you are after, look no further than open source software. That way you never have to worry about being locked into using software you spent big bucks on that just isn’t working out the way you hoped.
8. More Frequent Updates
I have to admit, this isn’t always the case with open source software, and it’s largely based on the software you need as to what the release cycle is. In most cases, however, you will find that open source software is updated much more often than closed sources software. Just look at Ubuntu, with regular releases and maintenance fixes each year. Because of these updates, chances are you will get access to new features much faster or you won’t have to live with bugs for quite as long as you may have to with proprietary software.
I’m not saying that open source software is the best option in every case, but I do think you should consider it when you are making your choices for the software you plan on using in your home or office. With its low cost, freedom of choice, flexibility, and its support from the community, open source software is one of the best options you can choose for your business, especially if you operate on a budget.
What open source software applications do you use in your home or office? Tell us what you use in the comments below.