The usage of open-source software has increased in the last decade. It has drastically improved, offering innovative features, affordable up-front costs, and professionally managed
Open source is the collective contribution of thousands of volunteers. This concept brings in some inherent realities. In the write-up below, we will look into the potential concerns associated with the nature of open-source software.
A significant benefit of open-source software is the large and diverse group of developers contributing to the plan regularly. The involvement of a large group of developers is a powerful argument when explaining the value of open-source to a business. However, the larger the community of contributors, the higher the security issues and risks involved.
Let us look at some potential problems of Customizable Open-Source Software listed below.
Complexity:- Open-source platforms can become so complex at times that they may go against the functionality that you were willing to create. What works best is having a team of developers that can seamlessly work through the open-source tasks. Additionally, they should also systematically work on the integration of what others are working on. Collaboration on the integrations and features helps businesses and everyone who tries to assist.
Security:- Open-source platforms are home to millions of developers. With the involvement of a higher number of people, there are risks of security breaches. Consulting an IT security specialist before investing in an open-source platform is a wise choice. A security professional can help you install safeguards to prevent a cyber-attack such that your data stays safe and secure.
Community and Licensing:- Many organizations do not realize the licensing obligations that come with open-source usage. If you make changes to the code, you must share the changes with the community. One must be aware of the potential technical debt that can quickly mount up. There must be time invested in updating codes and tools.
Inability to see the Big Picture:- Undoubtedly, open-source software is a blessing for businesses and companies. There are tonnes of useful open-source software available across multiple sectors for use. However, one cannot deny that open-source software is complex. Due to its complex nature, it often gets difficult to ignore the complexities, step back, and take a moment to look at the big picture while using the software or to create your website.
Updates:- Open-source software is difficult to manage but once done it is easily accessible. But it also poses some hurdles. For example, some open-source software does not have vendors delivering updates. Instead, the developers are required to seek updates on their own. To allow software updates, business heads must implement governing programs that need IT teams to manage updates and patch throughs such that the updates are functional and remain secure.
Lack of customer support:- One of the many challenges with open-source software is customer support. When facing issues, you are required to refer to online forums for answers where a better resolution would be some professional on a call to help. One of the best ways to overcome the lack of on-call customer support is by seeking solutions and answers on online forums. Contribution to these online forums about how you overcame a specific issue or how a particular solution worked for you can help others. Therefore, if you have figured out how to sort a problem, share the technique and help people.
Not prioritizing a policy:- When it comes to using open-source software, a business or company first needs to outline an approach. Without a predefined approach, the developers in your company could use any component. Usage of any and every detail can cause several issues over time. Establishing a predefined policy is ideal for ensuring that you do not run into unnecessary and avoidable complexities and incompatibilities.
Not recognizing the cost:- An additional appeal of open-source software is the associated cost in the long run. Maintaining open-source software is a lengthy and time-consuming process. However, several companies and businesses fail to realize the necessary time commitment required to maintain and run the open-source code. Open-source software comes with complex problems and complications that often take time to manage. To evaluate this scenario better, companies must compare the commercial alternatives with the net amount of supporting operating systems. With a detailed comparison, one can ensure where they would get better returns.
Mystery Sources:- Using open-source software that you did not create can make you run into varying complexities. You can often run into problems like figuring out the specific sources that make changes to the code that you are using. This can pose serious issues for companies and business owners as they could expose their work to exploits and hackers unknowingly.
Compatibility:- Compatibility issues are another drawback when using open-source software in partnership with some closed-source programs. Specific closed-source programs do not work well with open-source software. Suppose your company’s developer team comprises professionals unfamiliar with the open-source software chosen that favors a clear closed-source alternative. In cases like these, there is no easy solution. One requires to commit to the significant adjustments and make it work
Learning Curve:- Open-source software can often come with a steep learning curve. For businesses and company owners who are not tech-savvy, open-source software like WordPress comes with a sheer knowledge gap. Therefore, before deciding on open-source software, make sure first to test it. You can opt to go through some tutorials to check if you can manage it. Alternatively, you can also seek help from someone skilled in using the software and have them guide and teach you.
Conclusively, open-source software might be helpful but brings along several complexities and problems. Along with difficulties, it also exposes your work to hackers and poses a threat to your business and data. With many issues and complexities involved, it gets challenging to step back and look at the benefits and bigger picture of the use of Customizable Open-Source Software.
Prior to joining BetterCommerce Finlay was implementing same day delivery propositions for brands and retailers across the UK and Europe. With 16 years of commercial leadership experience across the media, digital, IoT and e-commerce industries he is playing a strategic role in developing and executing our GTM activities.