Open Source is a fraction of Free Software movement, which main goal is to provide free access to software for all users.
The official definition of Open Source was created in 1997 by Open Source Initiative organization. It is mostly based on above-mentioned Free Software movement, which promotes the legal and free software use, executing, copying, spreading, analyzing, modifying, improving and extending.
Open Source has plenty to offer for the business world. Its main benefits are:
The security level of Open Source is high - due to the fact that the source code is exposed to the public view, its developers check their applications with extreme carefulness. Errors are immediately detected and corrected. It makes the reliability of Open Source very high in comparison to closed, commercial programs. It dispels the myth about the low quality of Open Source.
The main concept of Open Source is very trivial - if programmers from the whole world via Internet can participate in software improvement process (error detection and correction, system extension), it guarantees the rapid application development. In some manners and reliabilities, the product is in result better than the closed model (Closed Source/Licensed), where just few programmers gain an insight to source code and the rest have to use a closed and impossible to modify application.
Total Cost of Ownership Reduction
No license fee lowers the total cost of software implementation in comparison to commercial solutions. Everyone can download and use Open Source application. All of the products are free, just services as implementation, consulting and IT training are chargeable. Consequently, the implementation of Open Source solution considerably reduces Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).
Open Source code of the products makes you independent from a service provider. Practically each programmer or a consulting company that specializes in technologies, on which your application is based, can provide services for your enterprise.
In case of commercial solutions software sometimes does not follow the market trends. Then new licenses or extensions are released, but a customer has to pay additional fee to keep his system up-to-date. Open Source guarantees constant access to free updates.