30 Apr 2020

6 Reasons the Future of Software Is Open Source

According to a survey, 69% of IT leaders say that open source is extremely important to an organization's infrastructure software plans.

Open source has come a long way in the past 20 years. Back in 2001, Microsoft's CEO Steve Ballmer famously labeled Linux a cancer, but these days the tech giant is a platinum member of the Linux Foundation.

The times have changed, and enterprises and big players alike embrace this concept, meaning that they not only use open source but also contribute to it.

Here are some of the most important reasons why the future of software lies in open source.

1.Open Source Is Highly Inclusive

While closed-source software is mainly restricted to those who possess advanced coding skills, open source is much more inclusive.

What this means is that people can offer their expertise and contribute to as best they can. For example, WordPress, the most popular open-source CMS, encourages people to offer their diverse talents to the open-source community.

This way, everyone stands a chance to do something for the greater good and simultaneously benefit from having the experience of polishing their skills and learning new things.

Regardless of whether someone is good at coding, translating, or boasts great organizational skills, they can get involved and do something good for the community and for themselves.

Open source is also more accessible to those who want to tweak it for the purpose of optimizing their website source code for search engines. Although these two fields might not seem to have much in common, SEO plays an important role in the success of every website.

2.It's Flexible, Agile, and Independent

Enterprises have to stay ahead of the curve if they want to keep pace with their competition. In order to make this possible, a high level of flexibility and agility is required.

Open source enables technological agility by allowing for a number of different ways of solving a certain problem.

For example, in case a vendor doesn't offer a particular capability, an IT organization doesn't have to wait for the vendor to deliver it. Instead, open-source makes it possible for everyone to create features and capabilities they need.

That way, agility is achieved, and the development cycle can be accelerated.

Moreover, open-source promotes collaboration, meaning that communities can build software together. OpenStack, for example, is a project maintained by multiple companies and individual volunteers. Such an approach ensures that even if a particular vendor goes under, customers will still be offered support by another vendor included in the project.

3. It's Cost-Effective

Open source solutions are more affordable than the off-the-shelf ones, produced by traditional vendors.

Generally speaking, proprietary enterprise software solutions usually come with a hefty price tag, while their open-source counterparts are not only significantly less expensive but also offer some more powerful capabilities.

In addition to that, open source is a gift that keeps on giving.

Namely, many companies want to start small and scale as they grow, but traditional software rarely allows such a possibility. With open-source, companies can start experimenting with community versions very quickly and find the one that works for them.

And as they grow and their requirements change, they can scale up with a commercial option.

4. It's Modular

The problem with building software designed for a particular use case boils down to the fact that it can't be easily adjusted so that it accommodates new requirements.

Open source features a modular architecture that results in flexible and robust code. There are fewer hard coding defaults in it, which means that it can be used in different environments and use cases.
Modularity, in turn, enables a greater level of flexibility as well as lower customization costs.

What this means is that there are more options to use either portions or the entire code and customize it for a different purpose quickly, without the need to start from square one.

5. It's Secure 

Maintaining security is a challenge in an age in which there's a cyber attack every 39 seconds.

When it comes to a commercial solution, it takes a while for a vulnerability to be taken care of. Users have to wait for business hours in the vendor's time zone until the process of mitigating the issue and its consequences to start.

Then, meetings have to be scheduled and held during which tasks will be delegated, and only after all this comes working on the code itself. Coordinating all this entire process is time-consuming.

This is so because only those who can detect, analyze, and resolve software bugs are those who have built it, and in case of proprietary software, we're talking about that particular vendor's employees.
In the case of open-source software, the community keeps an eye on the code all the time, which means that there's always an ongoing monitoring process. Both the community and vendors join forces in identifying vulnerabilities and finding fixes. In a nutshell, numerous organizations are able to tap into the power of an immense pool of knowledge maintained and expanded by the world's top developers.

Besides, open-source code is significantly leaner and agile, so that it's possible to act much faster, especially given that a lot of people and vendors have access to the source code.

6. It Allows Developers to Focus on High-Value Work

Open source has solved almost all simpler coding challenges, and the solutions are available to everybody.

For that reason, instead of working on finding the other way around and wasting time developing already existing solutions, developers could embrace the benefits of open source and invest their time and energy into solving more complex problems.

Besides focusing on unsolved and unique challenges and adding value to their organizations, developers can highlight another advantage of such an approach - the financial one. Namely, open-source coding solutions come at no cost, which means that organizations can save their money by leveraging already existing source code while tasking their developers with finding fixes for unresolved bugs and issues.

The democratization of resources is a concept that has been picking up steam for quite some time, and it will only grow and evolve in the future. Open source is a game-changer in this respect as it's democratizing the tech industry and allowing companies to join forces and improve software, keep it safe, and cut development costs.

Michael has been working in marketing for almost a decade and has worked with a huge range of clients, which has made him knowledgeable on many different subjects. He has recently rediscovered a passion for writing and hopes to make it a daily habit. You can read more of Michael's work at Qeedle.

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