Open-Source VS Proprietary software is a debate long heated. With GNU having the article "Free Software is More Reliable!" I really wanted to put the claims to the test. As a FOSS advocate, I wanted to really challenge my own personal thoughts and beliefs to the test.
Let's start by the claims by both side:
|Pro FOSS claims||Pro Proprietary|
|More eyes = more fixes||Stronger guide to an idea|
|More contributors work free||More people who have work experience|
|Less unchecked vulnerabilities||Vulnerabilities are harder to find|
|More features||More stability|
These are the points that both sides give to the concept. Let's start by the Pro FOSS claims. Anything marked with an "T" means it is a "valid enough" claim, which means it is true but some minor debate points are possible. Anything marked with an "F" means it is completely false.
|True/False||Pro FOSS claims|
|T||More eyes = more fixes|
|T||More contributors work free|
|T||Less unchecked vulnerabilities|
All of it is true, so this is a win for FOSS right? No, because for the proprietary claims:
|T||Stronger guide to an idea|
|T||More people who have work experience|
|T||Vulnerabilities are harder to find|
So the Pro Proprietary software people have not lost. Wait wait wait, why are these all true!? What do the claims mean? Let me explain.
This means any broken code is faster to find, because more people can find them and actually submit a fix for them.
FOSS is well known to be a volunteer based system, meaning more people actually care and don't just do it for the $$$.
While vulnerabilities are found A LOT more often, they also get patched ten times as fast as a vulnerability in proprietary software.
This means more community built features exist. This means there are more tools, extensions, and other things. This can help with work flow and all that jazz.
This means the idea of the software is more set in stone than in FOSS. While FOSS often splits and forks, proprietary has one stable plan and idea.
This just means, people who work on this are hired to make the software, which can be argued as a good thing.
This is self-explanatory. Because no-one can see or edit the code without authorization (or lots of work) the software's vulnerabilities are harder to find, though they are still there and just as numerous if not more compared to FOSS counterparts.
You can say the same thing for FOSS software, but the idea the code is ready for all enterprises as they want it. Simple premise.
Okay, so we have our definitions for the positives, but anti arguments is where things come into question. We hear the top five cons from the FOSS community so let's see the validity of three points Anti-FOSS people speak on all the time, especially related to reliability.
|F||FOSS software is only for hobbyists (no professionals)|
|F||Proprietary software has NO open-source in it|
|F||FOSS is harder to use and download|
|F||FOSS is unsafe to use in enterprise|
|F||No enterprise company uses FOSS|
These are the major claims I see as an open-source advocate, especially when it comes to reliability.
Claim: FOSS software is only for hobbyists (no professionals)
Fact Check: Open-source has professional fields, think stuff like Linux Sysadmins or every programming position to exist with almost any programming language (including C#, C/C++, Python, Go, and more).
Claim: Proprietary software has NO open-source in it
Fact Check: Unless it was built ground-up (which is rare), then there will be open-source libraries. Even Windows 10 and MacOS utilize open-source software.
Claim: FOSS is harder to use and download
Fact Check: If it exists, it prolly has someone who supports your OS platform OR at least has easy to follow instructions for installation. It's rare to find FOSS software without binaries for at least Windows 10.
Claim: FOSS is unsafe to use in enterprise
Fact Check: Actually no. The thing is, most enterprises use at least ONE open-source technology, most commonly Linux is at the top of that list. Enterprises care about cost efficiency, something FOSS excels at.
Claim: No enterprise company uses FOSS
Fact Check: Actually all of the big names do. Yes, this includes Oracle, Adobe, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook, Intel, Alphabet Inc, Tesla, HP, Dell, and a million others.
To conclude this mess of an article, FOSS is more reliable, enough to the point all major companies probably use at least one FOSS technology.