Open Source vs Commercial Software

Part of Cameron’s ongoing IT Fundamentals series.

Open source software is software with its coding open to the public either partially or completely. The licensing for such software is often relaxed or nonexistent. There are numerous advantages to OSS (Open Source Software), including better penetration of the market, more flexibility, and theoretically more reliability due to the large number of independent testers/users that are constantly debugging, patching, and improving the original code. However, OSS leaves the coding vulnerable to would-be hackers, and it is difficult to create a profitable business model with an OSS.

Commercial software, or proprietary software, may be open sourced, but that is a less common form and is usually an incomplete version. While OSS is usually free to distribute and modify, that is almost universally illegal to do with proprietary software.

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