Open Source vs.. Closed Source

Taking a look at the two platforms.

Open source and closed source software have seen a lot of debate over the years. Should we be paying for software when we could, as a society, collaborate together to create applications? There are people out there who are taking the initiative to create digital platforms for everyone to use for free. There are many paid and non paid options out there for use, and what you use is based on personal preference.

Let’s say you’re a programmer or developer being interviewed by a recruiter or employer. They pop the question – Which do you prefer: Open source or closed source? Here’s some insight on the two sides to help you with your answer, if the question ever arises.

Open Source

Open source software, for the most part, has been used by the people that create it. That is, most people who champion open source tools are programmers or have some interest in the industry.

Open source hasn’t been greatly embraced by much of the community because it gives off a sense of piracy. Companies like Microsoft thrive on the profits generated by their close source software.

Open source is free and is continually evolving because of the open collaboration it allows.

Think Wikipedia. The entire community is based around content that is monitored and written by the people for the people. That’s exactly what open source is. Some other great examples:

  1. Mozilla and their browsers
  2. Google: though not open source, their apps are free and open to suggestions from the mass audience
  3. Linux: possibly the most popular open source community out there
  4. Open Office: As a co-worker put it, it’s a free version of Office

Closed Source

Closed source is practically anything you have to pay for. Microsoft Office, Adobe Photoshop – these are all pay-to-use software. They’re all generally well liked by their users, but getting updates or tweaks for the products you are using can be a wild goose chase. You get what you pay for, essentially.

You do have unparalleled access to top of the line software, for the most part, and tech support isn’t too much trouble.

The great thing about both platforms is the communities that evolve around the product. If official tech support is a no go, the web is full of unofficial fan and rant communities that can help you figure out what your software or product problem is. Embrace these communities, especially open source ones – they’re pretty tight knit and can be a treasure of resources.

That’s your basic run down when it comes to open source and closed source products. What do you think about it? Which do you prefer? Do you think people should have free access to whatever they need, and that we – as a community – should collaborate to improve those products or services? Let me know in the comments.

Remember, if you’re ever in a situation where this question is raised during an interview, make sure you’re careful on which platform you decide to side with. Recruiters and potential employers might feel taken back by your “spread the love for free” mentality! Gauge your response accordingly.

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