Benefits of Open Source Software

The Open Source model harnesses the power of distributed peer review and transparency to create high-quality, secure and easily integrated software at an accelerated pace and lower cost.

Primary benefits of open source software are:

  • Choice: By its very nature, the source code of open source software is available to all, meaning that no one company owns the software. Any company can build upon open source software. It may be operated and maintained by multiple vendors, reducing both barriers to entry and exit. A customer can easily choose another vendor because they are not locked in to one vendor’s offering.
  • Reliability: Open source is peer reviewed software, which leads to more reliability. The infrastructure of the Internet is largely composed of open-source programs such as DNS, sendmail, Apache and languages such as HTML and Perl. They have proven to be both reliable and robust under the most strenuous conditions, namely the fast growth of the Internet.Low-cost: Open source software is often developed through community forums and collaboratives. Developers volunteer their time and expertise, and are coordinated by fewer paid programmers. The lower overhead costs translates into substantial savings, as does the fact that open source software typically does not have a per-seat licensing cost. According to Gartner, open source is even more attractive to businesses during tough economic times. In its 2009 enterprise software spending forecast, the industry analyst predicts that enterprises seeking to cut costs will be drawn to open source software, virtualization technologies and, because of tighter travel budges, unified messaging and collaboration technologies.
  • Security: Open source enables anyone to examine software for security flaws. The continuous and broad peer-review enabled by publicly available source code improves security through the identification and elimination of defects that might otherwise be missed. Gartner for example, recommends the open source Apache Web server as a more secure alternative to closed source Internet Information servers. The availability of source code also facilitates in-depth security reviews and audits by government customers.
  • Fast deployment: With open source software consumers needn’t wait years to deploy a solution. Open source software can be “test driven” prior to procurement, and is particularly suitable for inter-agency collaboration, rapid prototyping and experimentation. Both known and unanticipated users can be rapidly provisioned.