Tech trends  - 5 min

Open Source Software: Definition and Advantages

Open Source Software: Definition and Advantages
June 16, 2023

The use of open source software has grown in recent years in the world of business process automation. It offers distinct advantages in terms of flexibility, transparency, and customization, making it an attractive solution for many organizations. In this article, we'll explore how companies are using open source software today and consider the benefits of an open source platform for automating business processes.

What does “open source software” mean?

Open-source software is a type of software released under a specific license that allows it to be run, used, modified and distributed freely and legally. This means that anyone can modify its functionalities to make it correspond to what is needed, so a company using an open source platform can customize its capabilities. This is an important contrast to 
proprietary software, which is owned by a publishing company and generally does not permit the end user to touch its source code. 

But the definition of open source software is not limited to just one that offers access to the source code. Once it is made available to users, open source software often benefits from an active community of developers and users who are able to suggest or even make modifications and improvements and thus contribute to its development. 

  • Developers can help improve the software by suggesting or adding new features and bug fixes. 
  • End users can contribute through feedback to the safety, quality, and reliability of the software.

The use of open source software in companies is growing rapidly

According to a study by Gartner, more than 95% of companies in the IT sector use open source software for critical IT tasks, whether deliberately chosen or not. Faced with the choice between buying proprietary solutions or in-house development, many companies are now opting for open source solutions for their own developments. These are widely used, for example for IT infrastructure modernization, application development, and DevOps. Open source technologies are also deeply integrated with third-party solutions, both software or hardware.

There is a significant decline in the popularity of proprietary software as we have seen that companies are less and less inclined to choose this option. One of the main reasons is the relatively slow pace of innovation in proprietary software. Businesses want to be more agile, benefit from faster innovation, and avoid being left behind. According to Red Hat's 2022 State of Enterprise Open Source report, in two years proprietary software will only represent 32% of enterprise choices while an increase in the adoption of open source software is expected, especially enterprise open source which is likely to increase from 36% to 44% of enterprise choices in the next two years. This represents a significant, very rapid trend.

The future therefore seems be clearly headed towards open source solutions. More and more companies are opting for both “community open source” and “enterprise open source” solutions. Community open source typically offers basic functionality with no license cost, while enterprise open source offers additional functionality tailored to business needs accessible with a purchased license or subscription.

The information in these reports highlights the rise of open source in both domains. The growing adoption of open source is not just a simple economic evaluation compared to proprietary software, but rather, it reflects a collaborative approach, where businesses and individuals join forces to jointly shape the future.


7 benefits of open source software for business


Open source software offers many benefits to businesses. Here are some of the main ones:

  1. Flexibility and adaptability: Open source software offers exceptional flexibility. It allows companies to customize and adapt software to their specific needs. This flexibility supports application leaders for development of automated processes fully optimized for the business’ specific goals and workflows. Open source solutions typically offer multiple ways to resolve issues, helping to avoid deadlocks caused by a specific feature not being available from a vendor. Instead of waiting for the vendor to deliver this feature, the IT team can develop it themselves. In addition, open source software makes it possible to quickly test projects, platforms, or skills as the source code is freely available.
  2. Interoperability: Open source technologies, based on open standards, provide high performance and compatibility with other software solutions and computer systems. They can integrate with any system, current or future, that uses open APIs as publishing, connecting, and exchanging new APIs is easily and widely done.
  3. Speed: Companies must now position themselves on speed, often a critical component for market competition. It can be very easy to get started with open source software using free community builds, and then quickly determine if the software meets business requirements. If professional services and support are needed, they are often available for open source solutions on a paid basis - an increasingly common open source solution business model. This model provides enterprises with flexibility, agility, and the ability to get started quickly and cost-effectively, with the possibility to scale to a large-scale, fully supported, enterprise-ready implementation without having to overcome proprietary licensing hurdles.
  4. Transparency and reliability: Open source software is known for its transparency. Since the source code is accessible to everyone, it is possible to verify its quality and security. It also often has the support of a community of developers and users who help to solve problems and continuously improve the software. This results in a high level of reliability and stability.
  5. Security: Open source software is renowned for its strength in security. The fact that the code is reviewed by many developers, sometimes over many years, means that problems are detected and fixed quickly when they appear, rather than sitting in a proprietary environment where they may be well hidden. Security vulnerabilities are quickly discovered and corrected under the vigilance of many contributors. The very essence of open source software is transparency and the possibility for everyone to improve it in any way possible, including in terms of security.
  6. Scalability: Open source software is designed to be scalable. Businesses can easily add new functionality, integrate existing systems, and handle increased workloads, without being limited by licensing restrictions or vendor dependencies. This scalability allows companies to handle their growth seamlessly.
  7. Vendor independence: The use of proprietary software binds companies to the manufacturer for the long term. This is commonly known as the lock-in effect or vendor lock-in. The lock-in effect makes it more difficult to switch to alternative offers due to the high costs of migration, integration, adaptation, and further development. Using a single proprietary technology for your critical infrastructure or processes increases the risk of dependency on that technology or vendor. This puts your entire business under the dependence of a single player, which can be extremely risky in the face of inevitable change. Open source software gives you full access and control over the source code, which means you can manage and host it according to your needs and constraints.

Open source software offers a powerful solution for automating your business processes. 

In the world of business process automation, the flexibility, transparency, and customization capabilities of open source makes it a smart choice for organizations looking to optimize and automate processes. With an open source process automation platform like Bonita, your company can enjoy the benefit of starting quickly and inexpensively on a Community edition, and move when appropriate to a fully supported collaborative and scalable Enterprise solution.



Bonitasoft understands what business needs to be successful. We’ve built our BPM-based business process automation platform to accelerate business process application delivery for efficiency, continuous improvement, and innovation. Bonita’s flexibility and platform extensibility equips professional developers and DevOps teams with powerful tools to develop highly customized, fully integrated business applications faster. 

Here are 3 ways to learn more:

  1. Build highly personalized, process-based applications today, for free, with our open source Bonita Community Edition.
  2. See how you can reinvent your business processes with BPM.  Watch our on demand Bonita Platform Demo.
  3. Interested in full project lifecycle support and services from development to operations? Try unlocking the power of Bonita Enterprise Edition. Contact us to learn more.

Bonitasoft knows its business. This article was not created with the use of generative language AI technology.


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