November 12, 2012
When it comes to software development, the term “open source” refers to source code that is available for any modifications, as developers see fit. Commercial source code is owned by an organization and is typically licensed for an organization’s sole use. There are important differences to consider when deciding between an open source and commercial software option. The following are what we consider to be the most important points to discuss when making your decision.
Open Source Benefits
Open source offers a multitude of functions at little to no cost. Utilizing an open source solution frees up funds, which can then be made available to support further efforts, such as customization, implementation, and maintenance. With the benefit of having been used and reviewed by a wide array of organizations, open source options offer a broad range of capabilities, including e-commerce, blogs, portals, and wikis. Open source is constantly updated and adapted. Communities of web developers who work with open source are constantly modifying code to meet the needs of its users. Because of its widespread use, bugs and problems that may arise in the development of open source software are usually resolved quickly through an extensive network of developers; as opposed to a commercial source which can take months to work out bugs.
Commercial Software Benefits
Brave River Solutions works with a variety of companies – large and small – to develop custom software solutions that directly meet their needs, comply with standards, and differentiate them from their competitors.
Below are key points that we consider to be the top benefits of using commercial source:
Commercial source guarantees one-on-one support. Because commercially developed software is written and maintained by a company you have an established relationship with, they will ensure that your software functions properly. Many open source software programs come without a manual or any documentation, so the implementation and maintenance of an open source system may require a more knowledgeable team vs. a commercial system. In general, open source software is typically minimally supported. The customizations done by one party are not tested with another customization; leaving you with the responsibility to test the full solution.
Commercial source is completely customizable. At Brave River Solutions, we work one-on-one with clients to build software to their exact specifications. This includes custom functionality and one-of-a-kind design. Open source software solutions often have similar features and may look similar to other products utilizing the same software. This can make differentiation more challenging. Additionally, intellectual property rights could be called into question when using open source. As code is customized, the question arises of whether or not the integrity of the open source code has been maintained. Ownership could be called into question if the code has strayed too much from the original.
Commercial source is far less susceptible to hackers. The hacking community is more familiar with open source code and therefore, able to hack into it more often with greater ease than commercial software. Brave River Solutions works with many clients to ensure their software is completely secure and compliant and that it adheres to many industry requirements, such as those requiring HIPAA and ADA compliance.
At Brave River Solutions, we develop commercial software for our clients because it enables us to custom-fit the software to better meet the needs of particular industries. Contact us today to a free consultation.