software coding on a computer screen, open-source software
© Yurii Tymchuk

In recent years, the government has advocated using Open-Source Software to improve flexibility, transparency, and accountability in web development. They stress the importance of being accessible, and the collaborative benefits this software poses. But this does not answer all the questions about using Open-Source Software. Including its advantages and disadvantages and whether the government is utilizing OSS for digital transformation. This editorial will look at answering these questions and will try to enlighten the reader about the future of Open-Source Software.

What is Open-Source Software?

Open-Source Software is a collaborative method of creating and developing software. With its beginnings in the 1950s, it has evolved over the decades into a platform that promotes community and inclusion. The concept of intellectual freedom is paramount to OSS programs.

The collaborative nature of allowing OSS ensures it is distributed, developers to use it freely and make modifications.

The advantages & disadvantages of Open-Source Software

So, what are the advantages and disadvantages of Open-Source Software?

Firstly, the advantages:

  • Popular open-source projects are less likely than commercial closed-source software to include bugs and security vulnerabilities. There is more likelihood that OSS projects will fix bugs and vulnerabilities and release the fixes faster than commercial software.
  • The benefits of a community structure and the ability to advertise are definite rewards of OSS. You can gain a reputation as a developer using this software and promote your services at the same time.
  • Using OSS can create a common aim and develop a valued workforce. Employees feel they are not only contributing to individual goals but will be aiding the web development community.
  • Due to Open-Source Software proving less vulnerable to security breaches and bugs, this will naturally lead to better quality software. As OSS supplies a community of developers worldwide, the quality of both code and individual projects is sure to improve.
  • OSS allows developers to customize code freely and deliver different functionalities based on specific needs. Therefore, it offers more flexibility.
  • Open-Source software offers improved security and better-quality code than closed-source software can achieve. It also allows developers more flexibility and a sense of community which is invaluable. The advantages are not endless, however, so here are the disadvantages of OSS:
  • Although preventable, Open-Source Software can pose a threat to your business if you are not careful with confidential information. For example, any business information not meant for the public should not be made viewable on OSS. Though obvious, it is vital in keeping organizational values ​​safe.
  • There can be communication issues when using OSS. Collaborators on Open Source may have different capabilities, or limited understanding of the rules when working on OSS. It is impossible to keep everyone happy, and you may have to let down contributors to uphold the integrity of the code.

Why do some people prefer using Open-Source Software?

There are several reasons why companies and organizations choose OSS over other forms of software. But perhaps the most influential factors are that the code is more structured in certain circumstances and thus easier to use. Documentation is trackable, supplying clearer data and cost-effectiveness may prove superior to other programs.

Is Open-Source Software emerging as a digital transformation enabler in Local Government?

As cited on the Crown Commercial Service, ‘The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the use of digital tools intended to assist citizens in accessing council services.’ Implementing modern technology for use in local councils could no doubt render the use of Open-Source Software highly effective.

With lower implementation costs and a global community of problem solvers, this software could aid the government in supplying high-quality services to a higher percentage of users.

The future of OSS

The future of Open-Source Software looks overwhelmingly positive, and it seems likely that implementation on a broader scale will only grow. The benefits of OSS seem to outweigh the disadvantages. If governmental organizations are looking to these forms of development to ensure a future digital transformation, then it is likely usage will climb rather than decline.

To summarize, Open-Source Software has been making an impact on how developers have worked for decades. We are still talking about it, and this seems unlikely to stop. As inflation rises and the cost of living grows, this proves a successful method of cutting costs but ensuring quality remains.

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