Posted by: ahmedashfaque | November 21, 2014

open source software projects – part 2


In the first part of this series we learned how initiators of open source realized the limitations of proprietary software products and how open source can address them. We also saw how open source projects get support and finances so that they become viable. Now we will discuss about good parts about open source projects.

Some of the questions asked about open source include:

  • If the project is viable and if it can survive and continue to provide support to customers
  • If the product quality will be good
  • If security will be good and the system will be difficult to hack

Let us see how open source products can be even better than proprietary products. The questions mentioned above are not only addressed but in fact open source products can surpass their proprietary counterparts in many respects.

  • It is possible that initiators of a open source project are not good visionaries. The project thus could not get momentum and could not generate much interest. In that case the project will die. This is true for proprietary products as well. Out of 10 projects, only 1 project could be a good project and stands a chance of surviving. This rate is same for proprietary products as well.
  • Good open source projects get momentum and get noticed. Developers, users and supporters start promoting this product. The product starts getting built faster and at the same time users start reporting bugs. These bugs are fixed promptly and product quality improves. Once a open source project gets momentum and thousands of users start using them then the built product will be there for a long time and will get good support.
  • It is a known fact that software products contain a large number of defects even after rigorous in house testing. The proprietary products are never get tested by outside community. The customers who buy those products only start reporting the bugs they encounter during use. This means only a limited number of people test (finding bugs during use) these products once they are out in the market. Compare this scenario to a open source product. Since open source products are free to use, a large number of people download them and use them. When they find bugs, they report them to the project members. This means open source products are tested more thoroughly and thus become better in quality compared to proprietary products. In fact proprietary product makers realize this fact and thus offer alpha and beta release of their products to general public absolutely free of charge. These people use those products and report bugs they discover during use. This makes testing and fixing of a large number bugs. Definitely open source products are giving a run for their money to proprietary products on this count alone.
  • Security issues are also get reported by users of open source products who are in large numbers compared to proprietary products. Definitely security bugs are also removed and open source products have an edge over proprietary products.

You can clearly see that open source products are winners on most counts compared to their proprietary counterparts.

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