After discovering the benefits of WordPress, an open-source content management system, I recently switched the iserloh.com website to this database-driven format. I can only praise open source – it’s the way to go, and I have personally deployed open-source packages for e-commerce, blogging and bulletin board websites (see several examples at iserlohdesign.com). However, some of my recent clients were doubtful, wondering why I recommend open-source so highly. Tim Gnatek discussed his views in a recent Ziff-Davis publication, nicely making a case for the superiority of open-source products in today’s IT world:
“Programs that are open source generally have three things in common. Most notably, they’re free. But so are many other kinds of software out there – like shareware, freeware and adware.
What further sets open-source programs aside from their budget-priced brothers is that their underlying source code is also free and open for others to examine, modify and update. Instead of hoarding the secrets of the programming innards, like commercial software, open-source programs encourage others to tweak the programs, fix bugs, and add features – essentially, they are invited to become part of the development team.
Open-source software can also be distributed freely: Copy it, give it to friends, even package and sell it if you like, as long as you continue to provide others the ability to do the same in accordance with the terms set by the Open Source Initiative, a nonprofit group that maintains the open-source standard.
Because finding bugs is a key part of the development process, proponents argue that open source results in a superior product, because more people are looking for errors and new software tweaks can be released as needed.
Proponents also contend that open source is more secure than proprietary programs because having source code accessible makes for transparent programs: Users can look into the software’s innards and know exactly how their personal information is protected.”