Open Source Software: Exploring Adoption Trends and Benefits

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Introduction

“ Open source production has shown us that world-class software, like Linux and Mozilla, can be created with neither the bureaucratic structure of the firm nor the incentives of the marketplace as we’ve known them”
– Howard Rheingold, writer, and teacher.

In other words, Open source software drives innovation and creativity in tech development market scenarios for this very reason. Before we map adoption trends of OpenSource, let’s have a look at the advantages of open source software and how it is different from Proprietary software.

What is Open Source software and its history?

Open Source software is software code that is made available with its source code allowing anyone to modify it or use it and distribute it. Unlike, Proprietary software, open source software is developed via public collaboration and is available online free of cost. It also has its very own community of developers who iterate it with better versions while eliminating existing vulnerabilities.

Open Source software is designed in a way that they are easy to integrate with existing frameworks and developed software products. While being conveniently scalable, Open-source software can be tailored to a developer’s requirement in the operational workflow and software development process.

Open Source software traces its origin back to the 1980s when software development was a relatively new field and developers were still learning from each other. Software engineers believed in sharing code to learn from each other which led to the development of the Open Source Initiative. OSI was a platform for software engineers to share developed code, frameworks, API, and integrable software absolutely free of cost for public use. Today, many software development firms are making the best of these public domain software to craft unique products at a fraction of the cost. OpenSource software has also received its own share of flak while being labeled as an ‘intellectual property destroyer’. However, its benefit outweighs its con by far! Let us have a look at these advantages one by one, in detail.

Benefits of using Open Source Software

Flexibility and Scalability

The main objective of IT companies is to fundamentally provide flexibility to their clients. Open Source equips them with the ability to do so. When a certain vendor is unable to deliver a certain capability, Open Source code available online provides a variety of options to choose from, sometimes at no cost. For example, if one wants to start developing a product, it can get started simply by checking the open-source software available online. On the other hand, with products like Microsoft and Azure, one needs to buy the software and negotiate before they can even get started.

Inexpensive development

Open Source Software brings down the developmental costs substantially as you do not have to pay licensing or subscription fees. Proprietary software, on the other hand, does not come cheap and involves hidden costs as well. Proprietary software also requires software experts in the same field to handle it, which further adds to the developmental costs of tech products.

Cloud-friendly

Open Source software is integral in developing software that is cloud-based. Orchestration tools (like Ansible, Puppet, Chef, etc.), containers( Docker, Kubernetes, etc.), and serverless frameworks are some OpenSource software available online that are quite popular amongst developers.

Big Data and Analytics

Ask any developer and they shall tell you what a boon tools like Apache Hadoop, MongoDB, and Rapid Miner are! These tools are Big Data open-source tools used for handling humongous amounts of Data and identification of patterns in collected Data. Enterprises can use the efficiency of these tools to read data free of cost as it is a part of Mobile App Development Services offered by various companies.

Customization

Tailoring OpenSource software to one’s own requirements is very easy. Software development firms often gain a competitive advantage by leveraging in drafting a software product while making it extremely unique.

Security

It is normal to believe that Open source software is accompanied by security vulnerabilities. However, Open Source software is constantly evolving for the better. Its community of developers is reiterating and resolving such vulnerabilities and improving the product. This helps developers innovate responsibly and build a more secure product.

Expandability

Open-source software is built for multiple platforms and uses, which is why they are extremely scalable. When an application needs to be scaled up to accommodate greater traffic and features, Open Source solutions are easier to adapt to these changes compared to proprietary software, which instead charges more.
These benefits encourage software adoption in businesses across many industries. While security risks are significant, one can foresee these risks resolving with better iteration and growth and leading to an even more significant role in software development.

Differences between Proprietary Software and Open Source Software

OpenSource software is considered as an alternative to proprietary software. One can easily differentiate between the two by their functions and domain as given below:

Table

Adoption Trends of OpenSource Software

Three major sectors that are actively employing OSS are IT operations, DevOps, and Big Data and Analytics. According to a report by GitHub, the most popular open-source control and collaboration tool, as many as 94 million developers on GitHub and 90% of software development companies are using Open-Source software.
Another report from Infosys has pointed out certain major tech areas that have successfully integrated and adopted OSS for their application development. These include

  • Cloud computing
  • BigData and analytics
  • Content Management
  • Database Management
  • Operating systems
  • Development frameworks amongst others.

Government action such as the Software Bill of Materials or SBOM is further encouraging the adoption of OpenSource software while ensuring that many vulnerabilities are eliminated. SBOM is a nested inventory, a list of ingredients that are required for the development of software components. It will be shared across digital platforms and the resources will be made available to the entire global digital ecosystem. Mandated government policies in the US and soon in Europe– around sharing SBOM make it easy for developers to opt for open-source software.

Other trends include

  • Building Open Source Program Offices: As many as 30% of Fortune 100 companies have integrated open source program offices to reinvent organization policies and procedures. These offices are centralized gateways of all open source operations which in turn save time and bridge the skillset gap.
  • Real-time Data Management: As a collection of big data direct real-time insights from businesses, Open source facilitates the integration of big data tools quickly and conveniently. Open Source adoption is bound to gain traction in the coming years for this very reason.
  • DevOps and Automation: DevOps development has a lot of assisting open source tools available which leads to active employment of these tools by DevOps companies. This has been observed as a marked, emergent trend in the IT sector lately.

Conclusion

While Open Source software is looked down upon by big tech conglomerates as an infringement of intellectual property, it is actually an asset for developers of a custom software development company looking to innovate and create new technology. OpenXcell is one such software development company that employs experts in open-source tools and has built more than 1000+ successful products. The company’s quality products are vouched for by its huge clientele in the global tech space.

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author
Samragyi Chamoli
AUTHOR

Zealous, enthusiastic, and consistent, Samragyi is an ardent reader and an experienced writer. She loves animals and adventure.

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