Remember meForgot password?
    Log in with Twitter

article imageOp-Ed: Open Source vs Licensed Software

By Varun B. Krishnan     Sep 13, 2008 in Technology
Licensed or Open Source? The debate rages on. While each type of software provides distinct advantages, both have their share of cons as well.
Before the advent of Google, it was Microsoft which monopolized the market. But once Google came into the picture, it rapidly developed into something which was included in the lives of millions of people around the world.
One of the main reasons for this popularity was because all of Google's products were free, and even the advertising was not swanky and bandwidth hogging like Microsoft's.
This catapulted Open Source Software (OSS) to new heights.
The pros of the OSS were explicit- Software which is free of cost to use and distribute, no agreements or constraints to be accepted by the users, and simple stuff which requires no tutorials to use.
The cons, on the other hand, are that because it was free, there is no obligation for the developers to provide pedigree high class applications. There is no competition and the primary aim is to empower the use of software among the masses. Also, security features maybe minimal or non-existent.
One of the exclusions to the OSS world is Google, which provides users the best services. Best in search, best in mail, best in a lot of things. Simple interfaces cut down on bandwidth usage, interact directly with the user, and provide a comprehensive service totally free of cost.
Google Chrome
Google's Chrome browser
Photo courtesy Google & schattenland, Illustration by Digital Journal
Licensed Software requires users to sign an agreement that states that the user accepts the terms of service. Often, these terms of service run to many pages, and not many people are comfortable going through lines and lines of complicated English just to use a software.
Pages and Pages of not-so-simple English.
But companies which provide licensed software make it a point to provide the best value for money. They put in a special effort to make their product fully functional, error free and they give the best and most colorful interfaces. While OSS requires some form of advertising, Licensed products have already been paid for, thereby eliminating the need for displaying any advertisements.
Though each type has its own pros and cons, it has been found that usage is slowly shifting towards OSS. Healthy, free and no obligations. This seems to be the ideal concoction brewing. Google products, spearheading the OSS revolution, are promising to become the most widely used products in the web world today. quotes some statistics to prove how the market for OSS is growing (Till 2007):
OS Market Share Composition
GNU/Linux 28.5% GNU/Linux
Windows 24.4% All Windows combined (including 95, 98, NT)
Sun 17.7% Sun Solaris or SunOS
BSD 15.0% BSD Family (FreeBSD, NetBSD, OpenBSD, BSDI, ...)
Bottom line is that people are not prepared to pay for basic facilities like e-mail and chat, and this is the reason OSS is slowly becoming popular.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Foss, Freeware, Open source