That’s what a lot of people think about open-source software. Seven of ten German companies use systems with open-source code – and they are satisfied. Open Source has become an integral part of many companies, but there are still some stubborn prejudices about the supposed insecurity of open-source solutions.
Open Source Is Only A Passing Trend
The term open source arose in the late 1990s, but the idea behind it has been around since the 80s. At that time, when things like Apache, the GNU Project, or Linux were emerging, the concept of an open source code could only remain a marginal phenomenon. But determined developers like Linus Torvalds prevailed. Open Source has long since become an economic driving factor worldwide.
For example, the IT giant IBM acquired Red Hat, a US open-source company, for around 34 billion US dollars in 2019. Since then, the open source division has increasingly become the IT giant’s sales driver. But there are also always very successful players like Suse from Germany.
After all, the Nuremberg-based company generated sales of half a billion US dollars in 2020. Margins look different. Or Mastodon, the open-source project from Berlin, is on the right track to replace Twitter with exponential growth.
Open Source Opens The Door To Hackers
Possibly. With open software, every user can view and edit the source code—also malicious hackers by exploiting vulnerabilities and infiltrating the systems. It is precisely this openness that provides more security.
The code is closely monitored through the cooperation of large communities of private users, employees in companies, authorities, and ministries, as well as open-source providers. Gateways and security gaps are recognized and closed very quickly. A well-known example is the Internet browser Firefox, in which users continuously contribute to data protection and increase security with externally developed extensions.
Anyone Can Make Bugs In The Code
Purposely or accidentally, anybody can incorporate bugs and blunders into the code. Even so, there is minimal possibility that a flawed line of code will make it into a delivered variant. All changes are archived and can be followed whenever. They will be tried and if fundamental, eliminated. Any individual who has at any point chipped away at Wikipedia knows this.
As soon as a change occurs in an article, the text is checked and quickly corrected. But safety is not the only consideration that plays a decisive role. Open source systems can be configured quickly and individually depending on the requirements and desired functions. Thanks to available interfaces, integration into existing system landscapes is far more straightforward than with closed-source systems.
Open-Source Communities Are A Bunch Of Slobs
Open-source communities are not made up of hobbyists. The users are mostly IT experts from different industries who use the software professionally. Diversity, transparency, and enormous know-how result in ideas, features, and functions that would never have been made into a program. The developers behind the software work according to precise timetables before releasing a new version. There can be no talk of a loose group of nerds.
Open Source Cannot Meet Current Customer Needs
Employees of IT companies that offer business-relevant open-source software usually act professionally and quickly in implementing customer requests. Because quality and speed are critical factors for users of open-source software, the providers focus on market-oriented further development, excellent service, and reliable maintenance.
You know that success is fleeting. In the event of a standstill, users can jump off more quickly since open-source solutions inherently have lower degrees of dependency than closed-source alternatives. There is, therefore, only rarely a more significant customer focus than in the open source area.
Open Source Is Useless For Critical Areas
Mainly if they belong to the so-called critical infrastructure, ministries, authorities, and hospitals also use open software. A significant advantage is an easy audibility – often an essential requirement for professional use in the public sector.
The current federal government has also recognized this. As early as the coalition agreement, the parties involved agreed on more significant support for open-source solutions and, thus, digital sovereignty. In the summer of 2022, the traffic light coalition increased this budget to 51 million euros. That’s still comparatively little, but it’s still a step in the right direction.
You Have To Search For A Long Time For Support With Open Source
Of course, this depends on the respective open-source solution and to what extent a professional company or a corresponding community is behind it. For example, professional support is an integral part of the business model for the open-source ITSM software KIX from Cape IT.
This ranges from the first analysis discussion and stocktaking to implementation and ongoing customer support. The customers’ employees are trained intensively and can seamlessly continue their work with the new system.
Many Advantages, But No Panacea
Open Source has established itself not only in the working world but also in everyday life. Today’s world would be different without open-source projects from global giants such as Adobe or Android. And without projects such as the Linux server operating system, the Apache web server, or the MySQL database management system, the Internet as we know it would not exist.
Despite all the advantages, open-source software is not a panacea and is not free from errors. In the business context, for example, everything stands and falls with the skills of the companies and communities that develop open-source solutions.
Open-source software can only build its potential if an active and committed community or the developers provide regular updates. Especially with small projects, there is a great danger that work on them will eventually be stopped. Only then is open-source code robust. Available technology may overtake proprietary systems and marginalize them.
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