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Open vs Closed Sources Essay

There have been many issues when it comes to discussing and open vs. closed source in operating systems. Many argue their differences and developers try to pin point the flaws and advantages of each. I will analyze and inform the pros and cons of open vs. closed sources in an operating system. There are many types of different open and closed sources. With that many issues arrive such as money, usability and security of the software. First let’s start by defining the terms open and closed source. According to Britannica online encyclopedia Open source is defined as an “Unrestricted (Open) sharing of Information” (Britannica).

This means the source code of software is open and available to the public. Anyone can view and modify it to enhance its performance. This is greatly an advantage for open source software because programmers all around the world have access to it. This means that they can enhance the program at a faster rate do to it availability. Examples of an open source are, Apache HTTP Server http://httpd. apache. org/ (Web Server), Mozilla http://www. mozilla. org/ (web browser and email client). The most known open source software is known as Linux.

A closed source is defined as “proprietary software development and only the object code is published” (Britannica). Many restrictions are put on a closed source. The source code is kept secret to the public. Only the programmers that have access to the software can make modifications to the software. This is a disadvantage for people because anyone buying their program is stuck with what they get. People are at the feet of the companies providing the software. Examples of closed source software include Lime Wire, Norton Antivirus, and the most know Microsoft Windows.

Money is one of the most basic issues that concern any company. When it comes to open and closed sources in an operating systems, money will definitely be a playing factor. First open source software is free of charge. This is one of the most single advantages that open source software has. Compared to closed source software the price might vary. Depending on the type of software obtained the price can range from the thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars. It can get pretty expensive for a closed source product but at the same time the customer is relying on the company providing the software to have great tech support.

Another issue that concerns customers is the usability in which the software is provided. Open source software has been putdown by non-supporters do to its usability. They argue that the software is not provided by experts in the field. Open Source Software rely on its users to fix problems and so on. Compared to closed source software, they implement test on the software before releasing it and experts test the software on usability. Closed source software provides tech support such as user guides and training for its staff to better understand the software.

Security is very important, especially when it comes to hackers that want to destroy files. Many argue that open source software has many security issues. Viruses may be implemented into open source programs without the users even knowing it. This issue can be minimized by a group of programmers dedicated to a program. Then there’s the argument if it’s free then there’s nothing to steal. Whereas closed source programs is believed to be more secure. It’s under a controlled environment and strict supervision. The risk is much less and stable.

In reality, the truth is nothing is safe, hackers have found smarter and quicker ways to hack into systems. By providing strong communities in an open source, security risk can be minimized. In a closed source environment the programming team is at hand and can act as soon as a risk is detected. Whatever the choice is to go with open or closed source software, there are several issues that the user must take into consideration. Not every company has the same need and some company’s budget is the bottom line. Whether you choose to go with an open or closed

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