Why open source software is important

And why you should be open to adopting it

If you have met anyone from the Antemodal team, you will know that we just love open-source software (OSS). In fact, it’s one of the primary reasons that we can exist as a company today. Read on to learn more about open-source software and why it is vital to our information driven society.

An image illustrating the nature of open source software by showing a group of construction workers building an app

What is Open-Source Software?

Open-Source Software (OSS, or we like to refer to it as open source) is software that has its source code available for anyone to view, modify and distribute for free. It allows developers to view the program’s inner workings, adjust its functionality, and contribute improvements. In recent years, open source has become even more popular and prevalent, and it’s become vital to not only business and software communities, but our modern society. The growing adoption of open source makes it an avenue worth looking into as a business if you want to take control over your own information and reap some of its benefits.

Advantages of Open-Source Software

There are many advantages to adopting open-source software:

Cost Savings

Open source is free to download and use for your own purposes as provided in its license. Many OSS companies release community editions that allow the use of their software at no charge if you are willing to set it up yourself. Moreover, there are companies that release open-source software but also offer cloud solutions that work out-of-the-box. This can be a good middle ground that offers convenience and flexibility if you want to move to an on-premises solution in the future.

Flexibility and Customization

Since you have access to the code, it means you can change it to fit your needs. Open-source software also tends to follow standards over proprietary solutions, which are more widespread and compatible with other open-source software. This means you have a greater number of possibilities to integrate solutions to meet your needs.

Community Collaboration

Open source is usually supported by a community of developers that are willing to create software at little to no cost by collaborating with each other for the benefit of all. Due to it being developed by a community of programmers, it usually translates into quality documentation and other programmers may be willing to help if you find yourself stuck.

Security and Transparency

A big benefit that can be gained from using or making your software open source is security. Linus' Law says that 'given enough eyes, all bugs are shallow'. This means that if your software is open source, under the scrutiny of up to hundreds or thousands of developers, you can have better quality control on your code and be more likely to identify issues. This benefits the developers in finding issues that a limited team of closed projects may not be able to easily find. This "security through transparency" allows not only safer software but adds a layer of trust to the software since people understand how it works and how secure it is.

Another benefit is that the nature of most open-source projects allows for multiple unrelated people to work on these projects efficiently and effectively. This means that they can adapt and fix issues faster and remove critical vulnerabilities in a short span of time.

Quality and Innovation

The benefits of having a huge pool of developers working on a project go beyond scrutiny and security. It can allow for the software to be developed at a faster pace than with a limited team of developers. It also helps in terms of finance since it becomes a more community driven project than one done for monetary benefit. However, this does not mean you cannot monetize it.

Community feedback also allows for continuous improvement of the software as users submit "issues" that can range from bugs to new features, to better behavior recommendations for current features. This allows a closer relationship between users and the development to gain more constructive feedback to improve on the project.

Vendor Independence

If you are thinking of adopting open-source software, there are benefits to increase your vendor independence as well. By deploying open source software, you reduce the possibility of "Vendor Locking" which occurs when software follows practices that make it easy for people to get in to a proprietary software system while making it extremely difficult or expensive to leave. For example, proprietary ERP or CRM systems are notoriously difficult to leave since they give limited support to download your data and the process to migrate is arduous.

An advantage of independence from vendors (apart from avoiding price hikes) is the opportunity for longevity and stability. Open source means that even if the software original developers stop maintaining it, you still have the option to support development yourself and keep the software updated. Similarly, other open-source developers might pick it up and "fork it" (copy the code), which would ensure continuity of the development even if the original authors stop.


Challenges and Considerations

We mentioned some of the pros of open source; however, there are challenges as well to keep in mind:

Customer Support: First, although there is the advantage of continuous development, unlike proprietary software, OSS often lacks dedicated customer support. Businesses may need to rely on community forums or hire internal or external experts.

Complexity: Some open-source solutions can be intricate, requiring specialized knowledge for implementation and maintenance. Software as a service can be easier to get started with and everything is laid out for you to use. Furthermore, the vast OSS ecosystem can lead to fragmentation, making it challenging to integrate different tools together seamlessly.

Security Considerations: Security can be somewhat controversial. While transparency enhances security, it also exposes vulnerabilities. Businesses must actively monitor and patch open-source software to ensure security. A recent example of a major OSS vulnerability exploitation was the log4j exploit (CVE-2021-44228) in November 2021. Which was catastrophic due to the ‘zero-day’ nature and popularity of the tool with major computing companies.

Legal and Licensing Issues: Understanding OSS licenses is crucial to avoid legal pitfalls. Some licenses may impose restrictions on commercial use, and others might require any code changes to also be made open source. Make sure to review any legal licensing before using any software for your needs.

Limited Vendor Accountability: Without a single vendor, businesses may struggle to hold anyone accountable for issues or updates. This can be more or less of an issue depending on the software and who is maintaining it.


Open-Source software has many advantages that make it worthwhile to try them as part of your business strategy. From being a low-cost solution, to being a great way to ensure flexibility for future change. There are even solutions that can help you compromise between a service and having some of the advantages of open source such as the ability to get documentation more easily on it and expand it. It also provides great community support and security from public scrutiny.

However, open source also comes with the need of higher maintenance and technical knowledge to be able to set up and run the application, which can be a drawback for those who are looking for a more off-the-shelf solution. It can also make it easier for people to find and take advantage of vulnerabilities if they are not addressed in time.

Open-source software is great for people who want control over their data and the software they use, while also being free for use. Small businesses and individuals might benefit from using software that is open and maintained by a community by reducing costs and avoiding locking your data under a proprietary cloud solution that would be stored on external third-party servers. By reducing your dependence on proprietary software systems, you keep the doors open to a more dynamic strategy in case you need to switch software or implement your own customizations.

Want to implement an open source solution?

Contact Antemodal today to learn more about how open source software can be deployed and customized for your business!

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