Everything Should be Open Source?

Have you ever heard the phrase (or something like it) “everything should be open source”? Do you enjoy using open source software? Do you know why you use open source software, or do you just use open source software because a friend recommended it to you or it is the “thing to do”?

Well I used to frequently look for open source software a few years ago. My attitude on that changed. I now, for the most part, use whatever I need to get the job done–open source or not.

For example, I use WordPress. That is open source web software. I use it because it is free and because it fits my needs. Can I use a proprietary solution? Probably…but why would I do that since WordPress fits my needs?

Ask yourself these six questions if you are frequently tempted to “always” choose open source over proprietary software (or free, closed-source software). If you can answer “Yes” to at least three of these questions, then in my opinion, you are OK in choosing the open source solution over a possible free closed-sourced or paid solution.

1) Do I know anything about the programming language(s) that this open source software is written in? 

2) Do I really need to make any changes to the open source software, or is having it open source just “the thing to do”?

[Keep in mind that a lot of open source software will have a ton of code to go through. So even if you wanted (and are able) to make even a small change, that small change could end up taking forever to be accomplished, due to the ton of code to go through.]

3) Can I not afford a paid solution?

[Remember that paid solutions will more than likely have better support than an open source solution (this is not always true though).]

4) Does the open source solution offer features that are even close to the features of the paid (or free closed-source) solution?

5) Does the open source software have good documentation?

6) Does the open source software work with the operating system you are most comfortable using (albeit Windows, Linux, FreeBSD, MacOS X, etc.)?


Posted in Computers, Internet and Servers, Operating Systems, Software