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Open source vs. proprietary software tools

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Just the term Open Source Software scares many people.

I believe that open source software is an economical, effective and secure way to go. Open source is just what is says, the software's base code is released for all to see. Others can work on it ,use and improve on it. Open source software is not necessarily free, but usually is.

What I recommend for my customers is what I do for myself. I look for Free, Open source software and preferably with a GNU (General Public License).

There are many free open source programs that will do almost any application. I recommend the best of these programs to my customers where I have done the testing and sorting. One of the many advantages of free software is that you can download it and try it out to see first if it's even worth using.

Sometime users will need help to install and set them up. If they pay for that help in the form of a written e-book or hire someone to do it for them, they still have a quality program that they "own" not rent. When updates are available they can learn to do it themselves for free or buy help. The customer has a software package that does the job at a fair price and they are not locked into any vendor (including myself) for the future.

I have had people tell me that they can't be "secure" if they are Open Source, but I believe that the opposite is true. When you have thousands (millions?) of people who are looking at the code from all different angles they are more likely to find trouble before the bad guys do. Then because they already have the source code they can make fixes for the problems that can be tested  on many different platforms quickly. By its nature open source software tends to be platform independent so fixes don't have to be tested for how they affect other applications. Proprietary software on the other hand tends to have more bugs that are hidden and harder to find. This comes from half of the developers not knowing what the other half are doing. There are security holes and even intentional back doors that are not made public until they are exploited. Only then does someone start working on a patch and in the case of an operating system the patch has to be tested and retested to make sure it doesn't conflict with other applications.

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About The Author...
Jim Lillicotch is a website designer and marketing expert based in Pittsburgh, PA. Jim is the owner of Lillicotch.com. He has worked as a Website Designer and SEO for over 10 years. His passion is helping people start or improve their own sites. He can be reached through his website Lillicotch.com

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