Open Source Software vs Proprietary Software: The Full Comparison

By admin24 April, 2024Write a Comment

Open source vs. proprietary software is an age-old debate that continues to influence the digital world. In this blog, we look at the key differences between the two and explain how choosing the right software can make or break your digital journey.

What are proprietary software and open source software?

1. What Is Open Source Software?

Open source software is a computer program whose source code is freely available online so that programmers can add new features to it for free. This software is jointly developed and tested by a community of open source developers. It offers both community and commercial support for maintenance and is generally available free of charge. Although this software often comes with a license, this is sometimes required. Such licenses grant users certain rights.

2. What Is Proprietary Software?

Proprietary software is legally protected (usually by copyright, but in some cases also by patent law), which restricts its use, distribution and modification.

In the case of commercial software, also known as closed-use or closed-source software, the developer, publisher or vendor enforces this protection and only grants access to it under certain conditions, usually through purchase, lease or license.

A distinguishing feature of proprietary software is that end users do not have access to the source code, which remains the intellectual property of the owner.


The source company (the independent software vendor or ISV) manages all changes, upgrades and patches.

In addition, end users are prohibited from repackaging or redistributing commercial software due to restrictions. Details can be found in detailed End User License Agreements (EULA), Terms of Service (TOS) and other user agreements.

What Are The Differences Between Open Source Software Vs Proprietary Software

Aspect Open-Source Software Proprietary Software
Source Code Availability Source code is openly accessible online, allowing free modification and feature addition.Source code not publicly available; modifications restricted to the creating company.
Development Process Developed and tested through public collaboration.Developed and tested privately by the owning individual or organization.
Code Accessibility Source code is public.Source code is protected and not publicly accessible.
Installation Can be installed on any computer without restrictions.Installation requires a valid license; not freely installable.
Licensing No authenticated license is required for use.Valid and authenticated license required for use.
Management Managed by an open-source community of developers.Managed by a private team of developers who created it.
Flexibility and Innovation Highly flexible, promoting innovation.Less flexible, with limited scope for innovation due to restrictions.
Cost Available free of charge.Requires payment for access.
Bug Fixes and Security Faster bug fixes and enhanced security through community involvement.Vendor responsibility for fixing malfunctions and maintaining security.
Intellectual Property Protection Limited protections.Full protections.
Development EntityOften developed and maintained by non-profit organizations.Typically developed and maintained by for-profit entities.
ExamplesAndroid, Linux, Firefox, Open Office, GIMP, VLC Media Player, etc.Windows, macOS, Microsoft Edge, Google Earth, Microsoft Office, Adobe Flash Player, Skype, etc.

Pros And Cons Of Open Source Software Vs Proprietary Software

AspectOpen Source Software Proprietary Software 
Pros– Customizable source code to meet specific needs.
– Free to replicate and distribute.
– Community-driven support.
– Reduced errors and quicker problem-solving.
– Open to review and improvement, enhancing security.
– Global reach and application.
– Stability and reliable performance.– Revenue generation for developers.
– Dedicated customer support.
– User-friendly interface to enhance user experience.
Cons – Limited protection, subject to changes by many users.– Potential compatibility issues.-The software’s future is tied to its providers.– Generally high cost.
– Fixed software design, limiting customization.
– Restrictions on sharing the software.

Choosing Between Open Source And Proprietary Software: What’s Best For You?

Both proprietary and open source technologies offer unique advantages. Your choice depends largely on your technical skills and customization requirements.


1. Reasons for choosing open source software

  • Complete control: Open source systems give you full control. You can change the code and manage system and data access.
  • Unlimited flexibility: Open source software allows endless customization without license or usage restrictions. Unlike BigCommerce, which imposes sales restrictions on its tariffs, there are no such restrictions with open source software.
  • Cost-effective: Open source software is generally free, with costs mainly related to technical infrastructure such as hosting and system development staff.

2. Reasons To Choose Proprietary Software

  • User-friendly: Proprietary software is often less complicated and more user-friendly than open source software. For example, setting up an online store can be easier with WooCommerce than with a store created from scratch.
  • Dedicated customer support: Proprietary software offers specialized customer support that doesn’t have to rely on community forums or online tutorials.
  • Comprehensive subscription: Many SaaS platforms bundle hosting services. Apart from domain registration, most other requirements are covered.


To summarize, the decision between proprietary software and open source software depends on your business needs, technical requirements and budget. Open source offers customization options and community support, ideal for those who value flexibility. Proprietary software offers stability and dedicated support and is suitable for ready-to-use solutions.

At BKPlus Software, we believe in the power of open source technology and support businesses and developers using platforms such as WordPress and WooCommerce.

Whether you are a freelancer, agency or business owner, BKPlus Software offers the best hosting for any open source solution.

Check out more about our offerings and get started today.

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