Comp Lit Week 3, Assignment 2 Proprietary Open Source or Free Software for Business: What Are the Advantaages and Disadvantages of Each?

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Date Submitted: 09/13/2011 12:42 PM

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Thesis: While businesses should allow one’s options to remain unlimited, a company’s best interests for its most vital business needs are preserved in utilizing proprietary solutions as opposed to Open-source software (OSS) or freeware.

Open-source software (OSS) is computer software that is available in source code form: the source code and certain other rights normally reserved for copyright holders are provided under a software license that permits users to study, change, improve and at times, also to distribute the software. On the other hand, proprietary software is computer software licensed under exclusivity of the copyright holder. The licensee is given the right to use the software under certain conditions, but restricted from other uses, such as modification, further distribution, or reverse engineering.

Upon reading and understanding the definitions of each of these software components, one would be lead to believe that OSS or freeware would hands down be the correct choice for a business’ needs. There are many useful applications in which an open-source software (OSS) can be more beneficial and cost-efficient than using propriety software, however, in consideration of a security and maintenance factors; one would fare better financially and professionally in spending company funds on a proprietary solution.

A prime example of this can be found in one’s typical anti-virus software. Many times, when one agrees to utilize service of an open-source software (OSS), one may run the risk of encountering slower system updates and patches being pushed to one’s system. In today’s high tech society, this is a luxury which cannot be compromised. In the same token, there are a variety of IT security threats that include malware, security risks, vulnerabilities, and spam spread throughout a network daily; without the proper patching and updating, one may leave one’s network extremely vulnerable to informational threats. Based on...