The difference between open source software and closed software



The difference between open source software and closed software

Open source software exists today as a dominant force in the technology industry. There is no company in the world that does not rely on open source software. Provided you have previously browsed the web using Google Chrome, or sent text messages on a Samsung phone, then you depend on open source software as well. Is the software open source? And why should we support and use it? What is the difference between it and proprietary software (closed source)?

History of open source software

The idea of making the source code freely available arose in 1983 from an ideological movement informally founded by Richard Stallman , a programmer at MIT. Stallman believed that software should be available to programmers so that they could modify it as they liked, get to know it, understand it well, and then improve it. Stallman started by releasing free code with his own license, called the GNU General Public License. This new approach eventually led to the formation of the Open Source Initiative in 1998.

What are open source software?

Open source software is software that can be previewed, modified, improved, and republished without restrictions. It is software that is distributed with its source code, making it available for use, modification, and distribution in its original rights.

Source code is a part of a program that most computer users do not see, but programmers can modify it to control the behavior of the program, or application. Programmers who have access to the code can change the program by adding directions to it, changing it, or fixing parts of it that are not working properly. Open source software includes a license that allows programmers to modify the software to suit their needs, and to control how the software is published and shared.

The difference between open source software and other types

Some programs contain source code that can only be modified by the person, team, or association that created it, over which the organization retains exclusive control. People call this type of proprietary software, or closed source, only the original proprietary software creators can copy, check, and modify that software.

In order to use closed source software, computer users must agree that they will not do anything with the software that is not permitted by the software’s creators. Microsoft Office programs and Photoshop are examples of proprietary programs.

Open source software is different, making its source code generator available to others who want to view, copy, learn from, modify, or share the code. As with closed source software, users of open source software must accept the license terms when they use it, but the legal terms of open source software licenses differ significantly from closed ones.

Open source software promotes collaboration and sharing, because it allows other people to make modifications to code, and to incorporate those changes into their own projects. Such software encourages computer programmers to access, view, and modify open source software whenever they want, as long as they allow others to do the same when sharing their work with them.

Examples of open source software include Linux , Mozilla Firefox , LibreOffice , Python , and more.

Why is open source software useful to all of us?

Numerous people prefer open source software over proprietary software for a number of reasons that we will mention now. These reasons also tell us why we should support this software and why we should use it.


Numerous people prefer open source software because they have more control over this type of software. They can check the code to make certain it’s not doing matters they don’t want to do, and they can change parts of the code they don’t like. Users who are not programmers also benefit from open source software because they can use this software for whatever purpose they want.


Numerous people like open source software because it helps them to become professional programmers, since the code is open source and therefore they can access it whenever they want. Students can easily study it while learning how to make software, and they can also share their work with others.


Open source software is preferred by some people because they consider it more secure and regular than proprietary software. Anyone can browse open source software, correct errors that may have been made by the original authors of the software without their prior permission, thus enhancing protection for other users by fixing, updating, and upgrading such software more quickly than proprietary software does.


Numerous people prefer open source software over proprietary software when working on long-term projects, because the primary programmers distribute the source code of open source software to everyone, so users who rely on this software can perform long-term tasks, because they are sure that Their tools won’t crash, or disappear whether the original creators stop working on them.

What is the Open Source Initiative?

The Open Source Initiative was created to promote and protect open source software. The initiative serves as an information repository and central arbiter of open source software, providing rules and guidelines on how to use and interact with such software, as well as providing code licensing information, support, and definitions. The Open Source Initiative provides community collaboration that helps make the use and treatment of open source software comprehensible and ethical.

Advantages of open source software

Free open source software.

Flexible, where developers can examine how the code works, and make changes to make the software fit their needs.

Open source is regular because the source code is publicly distributed where users can rely on it for their long-term projects, because they know that the code creators can’t stop the project no matter what.

Open source enhances ingenuity. It helps programmers improve software and push them towards more innovation.

Open source software comes with the ability to modify and improve the source code.

Open source provides brilliant learning opportunities for new programmers.

The future of open source software

Nowadays, more and more companies are looking to open source applications, as open source generally provides basic features without licensing fees. As open source software comes with additional high-performance enterprise features, the use of open source software is expected to increase significantly over the next two years.


Open source software is important for developers as it helps them build their careers while allowing them to work on the biggest platforms around the world. These programs open doors for innovators who wish to contribute to open source projects. Last but not least, open source software makes the work of individuals and companies easier by providing them with customized solutions.

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