Pros and cons of using open-source software

Since the late 1980s, when it pioneered, open-source software has come a long way. A lot of IT experts recommend both medium and small enterprises use open-source software in the IT strategy.

Today, popular open-source software such as WordPress is an essential part of most organizations. Open-source software caters to virtually every aspect from operating systems to telecommunication systems and accounting systems, among others.

In this post, you learn about open source software, its pros, and its cons.

What is open-source software (OSS)

Open-source software refers to software that is released and distributed with the source code open to modifications by others. The copyright holder releases the source code under a license that grants the right to study, use, distribute, or change the software.

It is usually developed in a collaborative manner since many developers can manipulate, change, and add to the source code to meet their needs. The open-source software allows commercial companies to run, share, and modify the software code.

Although usually available for free, some open source licenses have restrictions. Nevertheless, open-source software provides a glance of how the software works, enables code reuse and designs if necessary.

Pros of open source software

Open source presents some remarkable pros to its users. Below are some of the pros to look out for:

Cheaper compared to commercial products

Estimates indicate that open source software saves business owners $60 billion each year. It is not surprising considering that these programs are accessible to anyone. They are usually offered for free. Since this software is developed to be compatible with any computer, it allows users to lengthen the life of their hardware.

Very reliable

A common misconception is that open-source software is prone to failure. On the contrary, it is very reliable because it is reviewed by many developers, testers, and users.

The reason open source software is very reliable is that it is developed by skillful experts. These can be anywhere between tens to hundreds of people. It makes it possible to find bugs and fix them within the shortest time period. It results in software with excellent quality and useful features that work all the time.


Since open-source software does not tie you to a proprietary product, you are not limited to a specific IT architecture. Proprietary products tend to require upgrades to both hardware and software. Thus, open-source software lets users mix and match their software to build a unique IT infrastructure that meets their needs.

With the wide-ranging options available in the market, a user only needs to find the one that meets their needs. Alternatively, users can modify existing software accordingly. Access to the source code allows you to make it do what you want.

Cons of open source software

It is not all rosy when it comes to open-source software. There are risks of open-source software. These include the following:

Vulnerable to malicious attacks

Some of the people who access the source code of open-source software do not have good intentions. Although most people use such access to find defects and improve the software, others look for ways to exploit vulnerabilities.

Also, some create bugs to infect the hardware, annoy other users, or steal identities. Such occurrences are rare in commercial software since companies have stringent quality control measures to ensure the software is safe when it hits the market.

Unlike commercial software, OSS may not be user-friendly

Not every open-source software is user-friendly. Various are designed to cater to the needs of developers to execute their ideas. Thus, they do not pay much attention to the user interface, which makes it difficult for those who are not tech-savvy to use it.

Using OSS is not a matter of selecting the system that you want and expecting it to meet your needs. Usually, you will need professionals to customize the system to meet your expectations, which usually takes time.

Lacks extensive customer support

Commercially produced software offers some peace of mind to its users. After all, they know who designed, built, and distributed the software. So, they know who is liable if the software fails to deliver or causes hardware damage.

It is not the case with open-source software since it is developed by various people. It is hard for users of OSS to pinpoint a specific company or individual they can hold liable. 

However, before you get frustrated by this, keep in mind that most software firms do not accept any responsibility. Their user license agreements void all liabilities leaving you responsible for using the software.

It means that you will not get any support when the software has issues and disrupts productivity. Although the open-source community tends to respond to issues fast, no one is legally obliged to help. However, some OSS applications provide support services at a fee.

Why use open source software?

Apart from the software being free to install, it can be deployed several times without tracking the terms of service or license compliance. OSS helps businesses save both money and time by offering ready-to-use software.

The software comes in different shapes and forms, such as plugins, easy-to-integrate front ends and interfaces, and back ends as well as simple engines to use. Most of the OSS is created to function on almost any platform.

Also, as a developer, OSS is great for reducing the development and decreasing the time and pain associated with development. Often, OSS is built by skillful experts who deliver high-quality software.

As well, for a software development company, OSS offers a way to accomplish much without being confined in packages. It is helpful since developers can download open source software and increase its features to match client needs.

The only caveat is that support in most cases is through user communities that are not 100% reliable. So, in case of bugs or issues when using OSS, you will be on your own.


OSS can serve both personal or business needs. It can save time and money even though it has its disadvantages, like the absence of dedicated support. Like everything else, OSS has its pros and cons.

Work done by a Team Of Security Experts from Cyber Writes ( - World’s First Dedicated Content-as-a-Service (CaaS) Platform for Cybersecurity. For Exclusive Cyber Security Contents, Reach at: [email protected]