When purchasing or designing software, there are two options from which to choose. Users and development teams can choose either open source or closed source. These names originate from the source code used to create each platform, but what is the difference between open source and closed source software?
Consider this article your go-to guide for comparing open source vs closed source applications. We’ll be covering:
After finishing this article, you’ll have a clear understanding of the difference between open source and closed source applications. Whether considering your next big software purchase or deciding which path to take for your next development project, you’ll have the knowledge to confidently choose which platform is best for you.
What Is Open Source?
Open source software allows a community of developers or users to access and edit an application’s source code. Although open source applications have become more popular in recent years, it may surprise you to learn that open source was also responsible for the beginning of computer software as we know it.
When original computer systems like the IBM System 360 dominated the computer world, all software was open source. Essentially, anyone could take and modify a software application’s source code.
Since software development was in its infancy, the engineering community was very collaborative. Developers would constantly swap solutions for the run errors and bugs they would encounter.
Another reason for this collaboration was the nature of most early software applications. Most software systems created during this early stage of computing were created for schools and other government agencies. Solutions were shared between developers or user communities to get these programs up and running quickly and efficiently.
Today, open source software has undoubtedly evolved. These applications can now take advantage of the benefits of the cloud to further develop their platforms. User communities can collaborate faster and more effectively thanks to cloud sites and other innovations.
Additionally, open source users can leverage virtually unlimited resources for backup storage. With the cloud, companies no longer have to worry about one mistake or natural disaster taking out all of their customer data.
Pros of Open Source
While some may see an issue with giving many users access to an application’s source code, there are significant benefits. Some of the strengths of open source vs closed source applications are:
While there may be some concerns regarding security, private networks and private clouds have grown to include modern security features. LiquidWeb also can help on this front. Our partners and third-party vendors can help provide additional security for private cloud to protect the critical information that powers your business.
Cons of Open Source
Naturally, there are some drawbacks to consider when weighing the difference between open source and closed source. This is why knowing the end goal for your software project or purchase is essential before choosing a platform.
There aren’t too many to consider, but the cons of open source platforms are:
Leveraging the power of collaboration provides an impressive list of advantages for open source vs closed source. However, although closed source is different, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the lesser option. Each platform has its appropriate time and place in the software world.
What Is Closed Source?
When looking at closed source vs open source platforms, it helps to think of them as opposites. While open source software relies on collaboration and group access to the source code, closed source platforms rely on the source code’s encryption and protection.
Users of closed source software are prohibited from modifying or editing the application’s source code. In fact, doing so can void the software’s warranty and, in some cases, even result in legal consequences. If companies aren’t leveraging the cloud, they may choose to run closed source software on dedicated servers to maintain the desired level of security and protection.
Pros of Closed Source
So, what is closed source software used for? Here are some of the benefits consumers and software companies can expect from this platform:
Cons of Closed Source
In addition to preventing collaboration and input from various perspectives, keeping source code protected and encrypted presents some other challenges. Customers or development teams weighing the option of closed source vs open source need to consider:
Companies like Microsoft are still taking advantage of the closed software model. Selecting a closed source model may be the perfect option depending on the software you’re trying to create or purchase for your business. Carefully consider the above pros and cons as well as the goals of your development project or purchase before making a final decision.
Similarities between Open Source and Closed Source
There aren’t too many areas where open source and closed source software platforms come together. Essentially, they are opposite sides of the software coin. One possible facet where they’re similar is the area of customer support.
Open source platforms have great, in-depth customer support for popular apps with many users. However, users may struggle to find support if an open source application is older or less popular.
Closed source software is similar in this regard because support is dependent upon the internal team of the responsible software company. That team may decide to stop releasing updates or abandon a platform at any time. Users may log in to their dashboard only to find that a particular closed source application has been discontinued. But, except for a potential lack of support, you couldn’t find a better example of opposites than comparing open source vs closed source software.
Differences between Open Source and Closed Source
While it takes some digging to find similarities between the two platforms, the differences between open source and closed source software are more obvious:
Choosing What Is Right for You
Now that you know the difference between open source and closed source software, the ball is in your court. Consider the points we’ve covered above in this in-depth guide, and you’ll be able to confidently choose the best platform for your next project or purchase.If you need any more guidance, LiquidWeb is here to help. Contact one of our Most Helpful Humans in Hosting® anytime (24/7/365) with any questions you may have.