Why Open Source Software?
Webopedia defines the general term for "Open Source" software as:
A program in which the source code is available to the general public for use and/or modification from its original design free of charge, i.e., open. Open source code is typically created as a collaborative effort in which programmers improve upon the code and share the changes within the community.
The Open Source Community
One of the most important aspects of using Open Source Software is the HUGE community of designers, developers and programmers that contribute to and/or support open source software projects.
There are a great number of active open source software projects in development today such as WordPress, CMS Made Simple, and jQuery to name a few. Most popular open source projects have communities that consist of thousands of contributors and supporters.
Public Collaboration is the key to the many benefits of using open source software as opposed to closed source or proprietary software.
Benefits of Open Source Software
Open Source Software is just as secure and often more secure than the equivalent proprietary software.
With a large number of programmers contributing to an open source software project, bugs and problems are often fixed very quickly.
With thousands of developers contributing their time, expertise and enthusiasm, the quality of open source software is extremely high.
Many users of open source software are also contributors which helps to ensure the software includes innovative features and enhancements most desired by end users.
The source code of open source software is made available to the general public.
Users can view, use and/or modify the software to suit their specific project requirements.
Closed source and proprietary software sometimes allow limited customization. However, modifying the software to add functionality is strictly prohibited.
The transparency of open source helps to instill confidence in users as they can see for themselves the quality and security of the software.