In today's modern world the term "Open Source" is being used more and more to describe software but many individuals still have a hard time understanding what it means. The term is often associated with "Free" and "Unlicensed" which are both true but that doesn't really paint a good picture of what Open Source really means. The key is the word "Open" in Open Source. It means the software is open to the public, open to the technology community, and most importantly open to other like-minded developers who can help improve it. When your software is Open Source all the code associated with it is put other there for everyone to see, improve, and sometimes pick apart with a fine-toothed comb.
To compare, the opposite end of the spectrum is Closed-License software. Closed-License software includes suites from companies such as Microsoft, Symantec, and Adobe who own the code to their software exclusively. When you buy their software you don't truly own it, you own a "license" that gives you permission to use that particular software under its terms. There is nothing wrong with that, a developer has the right to own their own code, so it begs the question why choose Open Source technology over licensed technology?
The main reason, especially for Anttix and our use of Open Source technology for web design, is the community that powers it. Putting your code out to the public means hundreds or even thousands of developers can come together to help you improve it. They can help you find bugs, work out the kinks, and even contribute patches and modules to enhance an already great piece of software. As an example, Anttix uses Open Source web design software called Drupal that allows us to build dynamic websites with powerful features and tools including entire online applications. The same software was adopted by the U.S. House of Representatives and White House for all of the websites under their domain. The main reason was the powerful community of developers who contributed the vastly superior security of this database-driven software. Close-source technology has the disadvantage of only being able to rely on a limited team of specialists employed by the software company to find and fix bugs as fast as they can. Quite often that is just not fast enough.
However, the underlying reason many user gravitate towards Open Source technology is the cost. While the use of Open Source technology is not always 100% free due to labor and service fees it is still a very cost-effective way to use powerful software for even the greatest business needs. By eliminated costly licenses from your technology budget you make room to feed more funds into development needs to improve and enhance the use of your software. Imagine taking thousands of dollars away from the basic cost of your software and applying that to a brand new point of sale system or high-end customer interaction tool instead. At the same time you can watch your core software grow and improve with a vast community behind it.
The bottom line is you should choose the right software for you, but when Open Source software becomes available to you it wouldn't hurt to learn more about it. If you want to explore more Open Source solutions for web design give Anttix a call today at 877-426-8849 or click here to email us.