File Copyright Online - File mutual Divorce in Delhi - Online Legal Advice - Lawyers in India

Across Open-Source Software And Community Collaboration V. Proprietary Software And Corporate Control

In the 21st century, in almost every field, software has become one of the most essential tools of development of society. The digital age has provided various opportunities to work, live and explore far beyond what was capable for the generations that have gone by.

Software is present from smallest parts such as our watches, mobile phones to seamless internet connectivity and analyzing data coming from around the world. Software has played a pivotal role in modernizing education, business, finance, healthcare, defense sectors and beyond. As the world gets more and more interconnected, this pivotal role of software will only increase and effective use of it will transform the ways of daily life rapidly.

The development of software as we understand it is divided into two contrasting models, namely, open-source software and proprietary software. Both these distinct models in the realm of software development have their own characteristics and implications.

Open-Source Software And Proprietary Software

Open-source software refers to such programs whose source code is easily available to the public at large, thus allowing them to modify, distribute and use it according to their desire. This fosters collaborative innovation, community-centric development as well as vast and easy access to people. Most notable examples of open-source software include ANDROID, LINUX etc.

Proprietary software contrary to open-source software is developed and owned by an organization with a motive to generate revenue from the same. It controls the access of the software, which can only be obtained by licenses to use under specific terms and conditions that are stated by the company.

Another differentiating feature between the two models of software development include after-sales services provided, as the proprietary software often comes with dedicated customer support as well as regular updates to fix bugs and to eliminate other malwares. Most notable examples of proprietary software include MacOS, WINDOWS, ADOBE Suite, etc.

Open-Source Software

In the modern world, software development has on a volume-based analysis, been based largely on the concept of open-source software. Open-source software or OSS for short has emerged as the leading form of software development, scrutiny and modification. It resembles the philosophy of transparency, collaboration and community-driven development of the field.

It distinguishes itself from its proprietary counterpart on the notion that it is available at public at large. The term "open source" was first used in late 20th century for a concept developed in the tech community. The main principle lies in the transparency this type of software aims for, the free availability for scrutiny, modification and distribution it promotes.

This type of software also come with certain license terms that the organizations using such open-source software need to abide by, these include terms such as that the principles of openness should be maintained and such derivative works also be distributed under the same principles of openness.

Unlike proprietary software, where a highly strict control is maintained over the source code, the open-source software is available and developed in a decentralized manner. This manner has its advantages such as accelerating the development of the software, providing it a global platform, harnessing data as well as building a global community.

At the very heart of this type of software, lies a distinctive philosophy that strives for the idea that a software should be accessible to all, modified by all and the infinite knowledge should not be restricted in the hands of only a few, rather this knowledge shall be shared to all in order to come up with more precise and effective solutions to the issues we face in our lives.

Developers from all across the world come together to bring various skills to the table and contribute in every manner they can. This global community promotes active participation from developers, users etc. It means that a direct impact is evident on the outcome of the development process.

Providing support, identifying bugs, introducing new features etc. are ensured by a team comprising of people with different backgrounds and different ideas they pursue about the development of the software, unlike in the case of proprietary software development where the team is selected and the work plan is meticulously developed to the minute details.

The model of open-source development of the software has produced various software which have become the essential parts of the technological fabric. The LINUX OS is a UNIX-like kernel that was developed by Linus Torvalds. It is one of the most famous success stories of open-source software.

LINUX is a prime example of a software that has the scalability and security, achieved with the collaborative efforts of many developers from around the globe. Mozilla Firefox is an open-source web browser which has played a pivotal role in ensuring privacy of its users as well as maintaining web standards.

Firefox is a user-centric alternative to proprietary browser and embodies the principles of openness and user empowerment. Another successful example of open-source software is the Apache HTTP Server, the base of the World Wide Web.

It was developed and is maintained by a community of developers that cross the national and international borders and its consistency and large availability has made it the preferred choice for websites to use their domain.

Hence, the underlying characteristics of collaboration, transparency as well as community-centric development have resulted in software projects such as LINUX, Apache, Firefox to serve as the guiding lights of how crucial a role is played by open-source software in the modern world.

Proprietary Software

Proprietary software is owned and distributed by a specific entity that regulates the terms under which it is being licensed. It is sometimes also referred as closed source software. Intellectual property rights play a key role in safeguarding the exclusivity and the business prospects that a proprietary software aims to bring with itself.

At the very core, a proprietary software is defined by an exclusive ownership right and a control over the distribution by an entity. The source code of the software, unlike the open-source software is not made available to the public at large. This results in restrictions over the users to modify and redistribute the software. The only way in which a user can get access to such software is by the licensing model through which it is made available.

Such licenses in most scenarios come with limits on the duration over which such software will be accessible, the restrictions against reverse-engineering the software etc. Proprietary software particularly focuses on a seamless user experience and thus inherently invests more on customer support services and regular updates.

The source of the proprietary software is considered as an intellectual property and thus is covered with the legal protection of intellectual property rights. It plays a key role in ensuring the investment sources have a sense of exclusivity and uniqueness in the software.

This provides the owners of the proprietary software with the exclusive right to reproduce, distribute and share such software with the users. Such a legal protection also means that any unauthorized duplication of the work can be effectively tackled and legal action against individuals that infringe upon such rights can be dealt with systematically.

There are various models via which the proprietary software is licensed in order to maximize its commercial viability. It varies from sales of software licenses to users for one-time payments to subscription models where the users pay on regular intervals to use the software. These are coupled with strategically targeting the right price points to cater to a diverse user base which can purchase or subscribe to the model which provides them with the best user experience according to their needs.

Proprietary software such as MS Office which are widely used in various industries and act as basic norms for effective conduct of work often lead to partnerships and alliances between such industries and the corporations who own such software. This type of partnership not only increases the usage and visibility of the software but more importantly also boosts the sales of complementary products such as Anti-Virus Software, insurance of the hardware and software components etc.

There are various advantages and disadvantages of both the Open-Source Software as well as the Proprietary Software.

Advantages And Challenges Of Open-Source Software

One of the primary advantages of open-source software is cost-effectiveness of the entire system, where the users come together as a team and the data generated as a whole is used to refine the software in a continuous fashion. This often results in a sense of shared ownership over such software by the users actively participating in such processes.

Another benefit of open-source software is the range of customization that is available at the outset as the users are given freedom to modify the software so it can meet their specific demands. This helps in tailoring the software in accordance to one's workflows and seamlessly align itself with the existing pieces of software.

However, security concerns often loom around the nature of open code used for development of such software. Being accessible by a vast group of users, it means that such transparency can ultimately lead to vulnerabilities such as viruses, bugs to be exposed to a vast number of users and timely identification as well as resolution is a must in such cases.

Advantages And Challenges Of Proprietary Software

A closed-source nature of the proprietary software ensures that the software provider corporation sits in a flush position as it acts as the sole authority providing solutions for issues that can range from regular updates, guidance, comprehensive assistance etc.

Such a meticulous research and design process leads to results that are intuitive and user-friendly even at the starting juncture of a user's first interaction with a software. Dedicated support ensures that the retaining power of the corporation remains at a very high percentage as well.

However, the costs incurred in order to maintain the services as well as the secrecy also play a crucial role in determining the pricing and licensing strategies for the corporations that do not have vast pool of financial backing to be able to incur losses at the cost of gaining market share in the initial few years.

Limited customization also acts as another challenge that plagues proprietary software as the ability to modify and change the source code solely lies with the owner of such software and is not shared with the users who license the software.

Further, the interdependencies of software and hardware in the use of exclusive features and data formats often end up creating technological entrenchment scenarios where, transition to another software and hardware gets very difficult. An apt example for this is how difficult it becomes for an Android/WINDOWS user to shift to Apple ecosystem and vice-versa.

Both open-source software as well as proprietary software seem to provide effective solutions for a user, and both come with their own advantages and disadvantages. Open-source software thrives on cost-effectiveness, wide usage, customization as well as community support, but also lacks effective security measures to deal with bugs and viruses that can lead to concerns for a large pool of users before it is effectively tackled with.

On the other hand, proprietary software aims at a premium interface, dedicated support, exclusive features as well as secure software that can effectively deal with threats such as bugs and viruses. However, the fact that proprietary software comes at a significant premium of price and many restrictions over the usage as well as customization aspect cannot be obscured.

It ultimately depends on the user to identify their primary usage, in order to choose from one of the above or in some cases, a combination of both.

Law Article in India

Ask A Lawyers

You May Like

Legal Question & Answers

Lawyers in India - Search By City

Copyright Filing
Online Copyright Registration


How To File For Mutual Divorce In Delhi


How To File For Mutual Divorce In Delhi Mutual Consent Divorce is the Simplest Way to Obtain a D...

Increased Age For Girls Marriage


It is hoped that the Prohibition of Child Marriage (Amendment) Bill, 2021, which intends to inc...

Facade of Social Media


One may very easily get absorbed in the lives of others as one scrolls through a Facebook news ...

Section 482 CrPc - Quashing Of FIR: Guid...


The Inherent power under Section 482 in The Code Of Criminal Procedure, 1973 (37th Chapter of t...

The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) in India: A...


The Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is a concept that proposes the unification of personal laws across...

Role Of Artificial Intelligence In Legal...


Artificial intelligence (AI) is revolutionizing various sectors of the economy, and the legal i...

Lawyers Registration
Lawyers Membership - Get Clients Online

File caveat In Supreme Court Instantly