The dangers of proprietary software

Open source is risky? You should try proprietary software....

I loved this post over at OpenLogic about the risks of proprietary software. All those risks some persist in seeing in open-source software? They're twice as bad when you can't access the code.

Here are my two favorites that OpenLogic lists:

  • Proprietary software we use could be really buggy and break down, making it impossible for anyone in the company to get any work done.

  • Proprietary software companies that supply our software may be bought by Oracle and then "integrated" or "end of lifed," forcing us to spend a boatload of money and time on upgrades.

Think these are overstated? You must be a proprietary vendor. I talk with enterprise IT people all the time (It's my job) and I hear over and over about how being stuck in proprietary software products invariably causes issues like these and more.

The vendor is not always the fastest road to a fix to one's problems. Having access to the source code really does matter in these situations, and others. A shared source "look but don't touch" is potentially even worse for IP and other reasons.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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