Every day, the number of open source users grows larger. Millions are adopting Android devices, accessing the internet with Firefox or Google Chrome, watching videos on VLC, or running a robust Linux operating system. Open source is even more prominent in server-side computing, with more than 90% of the world’s servers running on open-source software. With closed-source or proprietary software, the original developers keep a tight control of the user environment and any updates to the software. This causes an inability to rapidly correct software bugs, errors, and holes as fast as users can detect them. Linux and Chromium are prominent examples of open-source benefits, known for their reliability and their dominance against security threats. Google Chrome is one of the most secure browsers in the world, and very rarely are viruses or malware built for Linux. Even if someone was able to compromise a Linux system, any other users could correct the vulnerability in real time right from the source code.
One of the most incredible features of open-source technology is that it allows any user total control over the design, implementation, and features of the product. It’s a blank canvas any developer can work with, which allows for much more flexibility than closed or proprietary environments. If someone thinks of a new feature or extension for an open-source program, they can add the feature and share it with the world. This isn’t a reality with closed or proprietary systems, which are tightly controlled by large corporations. The bureaucracy and politics of these companies make them slower to react and less likely to add features than creators of open software.
Lets look at two popular mobile operating systems, iOS and Android. Each has strengths and weaknesses, however Android has consistently been preferred by developers. Android being open lets dev teams have ultimate control of the application experience. Android’s toolkit is also much deeper and robust than what iOS developers have to work with, and publishing their app comes with much less hassle than Apple’s App Store. Although developers on both Android and iOS are subject to oversight by App Store and Google Play admins, the approval process for iOS is significantly more rigorous and expensive.
Open-source software comes with superior reliability, flexibility, security, and allows greater creativity. With the development community growing rapidly and average users becoming more educated, it’s easy to see why so many people are choosing open platforms.