What is open source software?
Open source software is, in essence, “public” software. It has what is known as a general public license. This means that users don’t have to pay a licensing fee to use the software. The source code is freely available and “open” to all. This is different from freeware, where the source code may not be open, and where someone else “owns” it, even if it free.
Advantages of open source software
Whether all you want is a blog (I like WordPress for this) or if you want an entire Web portal, open source software can provide you with what you need. And there are plenty of advantages that go along with it: *Scalability. Open source software is usually very easy to scale up or down. Need to remove something? Take it out. Need to expand? Add another module. The idea is that you can grow at your pace, without the expensive and time consuming changes necessary if you must go through a vendor with proprietary software to scale up. *Constant improvement. With open source software, it is possible to be constantly improving your Web portal or blog. Drupal, for example, offers millions of lines of codes, and there are always people making improvements to existing modules or even creating new modules for use with Drupal. This is great, since it allows you access to a variety of upgrades at any given time. On top of which, you can make upgrades on your own schedule. No being held hostage to vendors that can shut your whole system down for a “scheduled upgrade.” *Work across the miles. One of the things I like about the Drupal open source content management system is how easy it is to work on projects across the miles. While it is possible to set up proprietary networks, I just find it easier to work with open source networks. They are easy to tweak, and they offer plenty of options. It is usually possible to control permissions, as well as work on projects with others in different cities, allowing each relevant person to receive alerts when a change or edit is made. Open source software provides the flexibility and ease of use necessary to keep up with the online world. It is the very epitome of user-controlled Web 2.0 as it evolves into Web 3.0.