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Open source software or proprietorial software?

1st July 2011

2-minutes read

There are various open source content management systems and ecommerce applications and while many web developers use them for clients’ projects, this isn’t necessarily the right way to go...

At Rubiqa, our approach to providing sophisticated web solutions for clients is based around using proprietorial software products rather than someone else’s open source software. This is because we feel that there are inherent problems with open source software:

Lack of support

Open source software often has no support. If something goes wrong, there is no supplier that we (or our client) can turn to for help. We consider this to be too great a commercial risk for us and we do not want any of our clients to have to shoulder this risk either.

Conflicting updates

Open source software is usually developed by many unrelated people, each of whom contributes a specific feature or enhancement that they want to see included in the overall application. Contributors do not always work together – or even know of each other’s existence – and we have seen instances of where different people’s contributions clash, which creates a significant problem for anyone using that software.

More difficult to enhance

Because they did not create it in the first place, it is more difficult for website developers to enhance open source software in response to a client’s request.

Conversely, a website developer knows their own proprietorial software intimately and, consequently, can extend it however they so choose. We do this for clients all the time!

Security risk

When a security exploit is discovered, all websites using that open source software are at risk. There have been numerous instances in the past where clients using (for example) WordPress for a blog or phpBB for a discussion forum are put at great risk when a security issue is discovered that pertains to that open source software.

By its nature, open source software makes it easy for a would-be hacker to see "inside" the application and learn about its inner workings. This makes websites built on open source software an obvious target for hackers!

Wrong motivation

Open source software is often made available for free, which is naturally appealing to some website developers. They are able to charge clients for a solution that uses software they sourced at zero cost and the profit margin for the developer is high. This is the "easy option" for a website developer and it is the wrong motivation for using a particular software application in a client’s project!

Jeremy Flight

Jeremy Flight

Technical Director

Jeremy Flight

About the author

This article was written in July 2011 by Jeremy Flight, Technical Director at Rubiqa.

He has worked in the web design industry since 1999 and has helped many private businesses and public sector organisations with complex website projects. As the technical lead at Rubiqa, he is the primary contributor to our software products and is involved with projects relating to website design, eCommerce, database systems and mobile apps.

Away from work, Jeremy is a qualified cricket coach and works with junior players at his local club. He is also interested in property investment, golf, photography, playing the piano and holidaying in France.

Connect with Jeremy Flight on LinkedIn

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