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6th January 2014

The pros and cons of closed source software

When researching your next business software solution, bear in mind the following pros and cons of utilising closed source software in your business.

Closed source software pros

  • When purchasing closed source software, you get more than a disc.
  • You’ll get a document stating you’ve purchased something, and with it an expectation that it’ll work in the way promised. If it doesn’t work in that way, you can take legal action against the provider.
  • Any software provider worth their salt will also provide at least some degree of service/support for the purchased application.

Closed source software cons

  • Software providers carry the never-ending burden of upgrading their products. This means they need to invest heavily in keeping up with, or ahead of, the industry. Naturally, these costs are passed onto the user.
  • The majority of closed source software is pushed into the market long before it’s ready. Many software companies view this practice (although they’ll be unlikely to admit it) as crucial to the development/testing of the product.
  • While premature software distribution can mean speedy testing, and therefore fast bug-fixing, it also means that early users can end up paying a harsh price for product development by way of serious compromises to the integrity of their IT.
  • The most common method of fixing bugs is for the software producer to supply a patch. However, users are often pretty bad at installing patches – this means that they, and their company’s systems, remain vulnerable even after a bug is found.
  • Since closed source companies are the only organisations with the rights to build and develop their products, there are a small number of versions of commonly used software, especially in light of the number of computers in use today. This means that the warped writers of viruses can exploit computers by the thousands, damaging entire networks, and sometimes bringing businesses to a standstill.

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