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Open Source or Commercial Software?

Over the years, debate has been rife on which one is superior between open source software and commercial software.

To date, connoisseurs in software engineering and expert users have not reached a conclusion on which one is superior between the two, though there exists a number of reasons in favor of open source.

As a subject expert, I have tried to piece together the comparisons between the two to help you understand which one best suits your operations.

For newbies, lets define the two:

  1. Open-source software is computer software with its source code made available by the developer to everybody to study, change, modify, enhance and distribute. An example is MySQL RDBMS or WordPress CMS
  2. Commercial software is a Computer software whose source code is exclusively owned and by the person, team, or organization that created it. They have exclusive rights to edit, inspect, change and enhance it. A notable example is Microsoft word.

Whereas the initial difference in the definition is about ownership, several other factors have been considered when doing real and technical comparisons.

If I tell you I am going to give a fair comparison between the two, then I must be lying,  because over the years that I have been studying and comparing the two, my bias has been tilted in favour of open source systems.

This is because open source systems are overseen by dedicated communities of developers who contribute modifications to continuously improve the products. The developers decide on the course of the software based on the needs of the community. Unlike commercial software developers who focus on a straight line of development “irregardless” of what other interested parties think.

Below is a tabulated comparison between the two:

·       Developed either by an individual, group or an organization to meet certain requirements and it is available openly for general public for any modifications based on its developing body’s interest. ·       Commercial software is the computer software where only the person, team, or organization that created it can modify also they have exclusive right over the software. Anyone needs to use it has to pay for it valid and authorized license.
·       The cost of open source software is free. ·       The cost of commercial software varies from moderate to expensive.
·       Open source provides limited technical support. ·       Commercial software provides guaranteed technical support.
·       Open source software is available under free licensing. ·       Commercial software is available under high licensing cost.
·       In open source software users need to rely on community support. ·       In commercial software users get dedicated support from the vendor.
·       In open source software installation and updates are administered by the user. ·       In open source software installation and updates are administered by the software vendor.
·       Limited hands on training and online resources are available for open source software application training. ·       On site and Online trainings are available from the commercial software vendor side for software application training.
·       Here in open source software users can customize. ·       But in commercial software mainly vendor offers customization.
·       Community response helps in fixing the bugs and malfunctions. ·       The vendor is responsible for fixing the malfunctions.
·       Source code is available to public. ·       Source code is protected.
·       The source of funds mainly depends on donations and support. ·       The source of fund is through software sale / product licensing.
·       WordPress, MySQL, Google Chrome, Firefox, OpenOffice, Zimbra, VCL media player, Thunderbird are some examples of open source software. ·       Windows Operating System, MS Office, SAP, Oracle, Adobe Photoshop are some examples of commercial software.


If you have limited budgets and you want to experience the power of technology, go Open Source. But if you have all the resources and you want to experiment technology, then go open source.

Open source is the best platform for learning, experimenting, research and real time live solutions.

There being no any other business, I dismiss this class without costs. Remember the internet is Open infrastructure since nobody can claim ownership. Use it to the maximum and use it well.

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