Selecting Proprietary, Open Source, Or Free Software For Business Information Systems

1115 words - 4 pages

Selecting Proprietary, Open Source, or Free Software for Business Information Systems

At first glance, the question above would probably lead you to believe that proprietary software should be the obvious choice when selecting between the different types simply because of the reference to the words most important. You could also look at the definitions of the three and be convinced that proprietary software seems to be more compelling than the rest. However, with the recent developments with software in general, I would have to agree with those that argue that open source should be the first choice for any kind of software, and that considering proprietary software should only be an option if it has very specific and valuable features that the open source solution doesn't offer. [1]

Proprietary software is defined as computer software in which the producer has set restrictions on use, private modification, copying, or republishing. Open source and free software are pretty much the opposite, the source codes are made available which permits the user to use, change, improve, and redistribute it in an unmodified or modified form. These definitions first led me to believe that proprietary software was more secure when compared to others because of its code not being available. Recent observations have shown though that even proprietary software developers are starting to realize that open source software development has been so successful that proprietary companies have been paying attention to incorporating open source strategies into their business model. [3] These observations have led to the development of hybrid software that has elements of both proprietary and open source software. As a matter of fact, we are already observing several examples of proprietary software hybridizing itself with “open-source” features, typically retaining almost all characteristics of proprietary licenses while only its source code becomes accessible. [4]
If this is the case, then why would a company choose proprietary software when even its own developers are starting to realize that they themselves may benefit more from buying into the open source model?

While researching the question posed, and trying to get a better understanding of all the different types of software, I came across many arguments of open vs. proprietary. Many of the arguments that I read, the writers all had good information to support their opinion of which type of software they thought was best. One article that I found interesting was posted on a website (http://www.geekzone.co.nz/foobar/5204), and it proposed that the debate of “Open source vs. Proprietary” be turned around to “Proprietary software vs. Open “. The writer of this article posed the question, “Why is proprietary the default and not open source?” After carefully researching the different types of software, I found myself asking the same question. If you look closely at all of the so called “compelling...

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