10 Differences Between Commercial And Open Source GIS Software
A debate that always rears its head in the world of software developers and software users is the constant comparison and contrasting of commercial and open source software. Like all things in life, they both have their advantages and disadvantages. It is up to the user to determine what suits him/her. However, it is not such an easy decision to make.
Narrowing it down, experts and individuals who use GIS software are also in this dilemma. Most open source and commercial software share so much in common that it is difficult to really differentiate them. The only crystal clear difference is the licensing fee. Beyond that, there are other points to keep in mind about commercial and open source software. This write-up intends to shed light on those points. However, if you are a newbie in the world of software development, and these terms seems alien to you, here is a quick overview.
Open-source software is computer software with its source code made available by the developer to everybody to study, change, modify, enhance and distribute. On the other hand, commercial software has source code that only the person, team, or organization that created it can edit, inspect, change and enhance it. They maintain exclusive right over it. It is also called proprietary or closed source software. A notable example is Microsoft word.
With this in mind, let us compare commercial and open source GIS software from various standpoints:
The marketing strategies of open source and commercial software differ significantly. The developers of commercial software use strategies such as sales team, paid advert, marketing teams and search engines (SEO). In other words, their marketing strategies is an individual effort and team effort which are mostly paid for. On the other hand, developers of open source software rely mostly on individual efforts like viral marketing (word of mouth) and search engine (SEO). It is rarely paid for and most individuals participate on pro bono basis. We conclude that commercial GIS software has more sophisticated marketing strategies.