What is open source software?

There are two main schools of thought behind software; make the software in secret, and don't provide access to the code (closed source), or to freely distribute and encourage the code to be reused and built-upon (open source). Operating systems and other desktop applications are generally closed source, and rely upon secrecy to provide security and stability. Open source, on the other hand, relies upon many eyes finding bugs and fixing them before they can become problematic. The benefit of open source software is that in essence, many eyes have worked on creating something that is well-tested and generally bug-free.

The biggest advantage is that this software is free for use; your company would gain high-quality, robust code, inexpensively.  Many people might ask why they could get something for free, and the answer is simple: many programmers love to write software and contribute back to society.  Other packages, such as Drupal, WordPress, and PHPBB, are funded through donations or corporate sponsors.

Using open source software does have its limits; it may not always provide the functionality that you are looking for, or it may offer too many features ("feature-bloat") that waste space and loading times.  In these cases, developers such as at Whitelancer Web Development can modify the open source to tailor it to specific needs.  Sometimes businesses must also make a choice as to whether the limits of the software are worth it being free and quick to implement, or whether it's necessary to start from a clean slate and build only the features specific to their needs. 

In the end, open source software can only help you out.  It can quickly get your business online with a large base of pre-built functionality, and most of the time is modular enough to be customized for the user. 


Drupal is an open source content management system that Whitelancer Web Development specializes in because of its extreme customizability and flexibility.  


Dan Pink had a great explanation about what motivates Open Source contributors -- it's surprising that they are not motivated by monetary rewards, but by just making a difference.