Open source software offers substantial benefits over commercial software. Open source software promises reliability, quality, and a solid stability. The open source community is large and active. A thousand developers from around the globe create software packages. Anybody can have a hand in the development of given software. The availability of the source code of open source programs enables fast bug and security flaws detection, and fixes to these defects are applied in no time. Therefore, open source software is continually evolving, making it of better quality and bug-free. In contrast, with closed source software, bugs and security flaws need to be filed, and there will be a delay before updates of the software are released. Most open source software is free: the end user has the freedom to run, copy, study, distribute, and change the software (Feller, 2005). An end-user is not at the mercy of a vendor’s requirements, prices, dictates, priorities, and visions; characteristics common to closed source programs. Equally, important, open source software is built with interoperability and scalability across all platforms in mind. The end user is not tied to proprietary data formats and hardware requirements.
Open source software has numerous advantages. However, there are drawbacks as well. Access and installation of many open source software can be a daunting task to a regular computer user with no technical expertise. Whereas proprietary software is nicely packaged for easy installation, some of the open source software programs require to be built from source. Additionally, many open source projects focus more on workability than presentation. Less attention is put into the development of the user interface, and its users render such software less "user-friendly" (West & Gallagher, 2006).
I use the Libreoffice word processor program. In comparison with a proprietary word processor such a Microsoft Word, it is far better off. It is free; it can be run on different platforms, and it supports many file formats, including the proprietary file formats. I can recommend the software to my family and friends.
As I researched about open source software, I came across an open source operating system called GNU/Linux. I developed a keen interest in it and am willing to try it out.
Feller, J. (2005). Perspective on Free and Open Source Software. New York: MIT Press
West, J., & Gallagher, S. (2006). Challenges of open innovation: The paradox of firm investment in open source software, R&D Management, 36(3), 319-331.