Already on ArticleSlash?

Forgot your password? Sign Up

Economics of Open-Source and Closed-Source Software

 


Visitors: 235

The rising popularity of the open source OS market, spearheaded by a number of highly popular open source applications, heralds not only a change in how software and information are viewed, exchanged, and developed, but also a shift in the very economics of the software industry. While some see the growth of the OS community as a threat to traditional software commerce and business models, in reality, the nature of open source software necessitates a different - though equally viable (and in some ways superior) - approach to the nuts and bolts of selling, distributing, and maintaining software.

The Premise of Closed Source (CS) Software

The core justification of closed source software (that is, software whose source code is hidden and whose uses are limited by copyright law) is economic. When software developers came up with a new product, they faced a dilemma. On one hand, as entrepreneurs, they had a need to sell their products and receive financial compensation for their work. On the other, the very nature of software makes it a very easily duplicated; a single copy of the application or program could be used to make hundreds or thousands more. Without product scarcity to create market demand, how could one sell software at any sort of respectable price?

The answer was closed source software. By hiding the vital innards of their applications from the public, and barring tampering through copyright protections, software developers were able to impose a type of artificial scarcity on the market, and were thus able to create demand for their products.

Open source software, on the other hand, cannot rely on such an economic strategy. Instead of driving or being driven by market forces, OS software developers are dependent on the popularity and quality appeal of their products. Though this does not necessarily guarantee quality, advocates say that the push for perfection (which is arguably much stronger in the absence of artificial demand) is a strong tenet of OS developers.

Open Source and Closed Source in a Growing Consumer Base

As consumer bases grow, both open source and closed source software encounter new challenges to their existence and maintenance. One such issue is security. Advocates of CS software say that, by hiding source code, they deter hackers and crackers from discovering and exploiting flaws in their applications. Open source advocates respond that, while hackers do have more access to OS software code, the openness of their products means that support and security patches are handled and produced by enormous consumer bases - resources unavailable to CS developers.

For more information on downloads of nonprofit open source software, visit http://www.mpoweropen.com

Joseph Devine

(464)

Article Source:


 
Rate this Article: 
 
The Truth About Open Source Software
Rated 4 / 5
based on 5 votes
ArticleSlash

Related Articles:

Differences Between Open, Free, and Closed Source Software

by: Joseph Devine (July 14, 2008) 
(Computers and Technology/Software)

An Open or A Closed Source For IT Infrastructure – Which One is Better?

by: Laura Roseline (May 12, 2011) 
(Business/Management)

Open Source Defect Tracking - An Important Source For Computer Protection

by: Dawn Smith (September 21, 2008) 
(Computers and Technology/Software)

Open Source Software And CIO's

by: Joseph Devine (May 20, 2008) 
(Computers and Technology/Software)

Era of Open Source Software

by: Pkp Iyer (July 06, 2008) 
(Computers and Technology/Software)

Top 7 Advantages of Open Source Software

by: Jr Anne (August 16, 2010) 
(Internet and Businesses Online/Web Development)

Open Source Software You Can't Live Without

by: C. J. Smith (October 22, 2008) 
(Computers and Technology/Software)

Sakai - An Open Source Software

by: Prahalad Singh (December 29, 2007) 
(Computers and Technology/Software)

Some Benefits of Open Source Software

by: Joseph Devine (September 29, 2008) 
(Computers and Technology/Software)

The Truth About Open Source Software

by: Joseph Then (December 20, 2007) 
(Computers and Technology/Software)