Open-source technologies make innovations possible and are widely used by all sorts of developers. After all, not everyone can afford to use commercially licensed tools or programs in their projects. Thanks to open-source programs and tools, developers can get creative with their projects and produce some amazing results.
You should also consider utilizing such open-source tools and programs for your project. They are cheap, easy to implement, and you do not have to worry about obtaining a license if you want to change the source code in any way. However, before you get started, here are a few things you should know about using open-source technologies.
Studying the Documentation is Very Important
Whether it is a new piece of hardware or commercial software, you must go through the manual or documentation if you want to make the most out of it. The case is the same when it comes to using open-source technology. You must know what it does and how it works before you can fully utilize it.
Just reading the documentation will not suffice. You must study it properly so you can have a good understanding of the technology at your disposal. Without studying the manual or documentation, you cannot expect to utilize the tool or code to its full capacity.
You May Not Get Customer Support
Given that the program or source code is open-source, there is a high chance that the developers are providing it to you free of cost. As a result, they are not making any money out of it (unless the tool or software in question is full of ads). Hence, even if the developers wanted, they could not provide you with customer support.
To maintain proper customer service, developers need to have a steady flow of cash. Otherwise, their customer support will not be able to function. And since their projects are open-source, it is highly unlikely that they are earning from it. Thus, do not expect good or any customer support at all if you are using open-source technologies in your project.
Open-Source is Not Always Free
In most cases, open-source technologies are free. However, there are exceptions too.
Some open-source technologies may only offer limited features on their free or ‘community version’. That is because these companies or developers would like to profit from their projects. And you can also expect these companies to provide customer support as well.
The premium versions will always have a lot more to offer. From proper customer support to additional features, these versions are better in every way. However, it will ultimately come down to you to decide whether you wish to choose a free version or a paid one.
There is Always a Security Risk
Open-source technology can have different vulnerabilities and security risks. These risks can affect your project if you use the technology without getting rid of them. Hence, it is important to identify these risks through vulnerability tests and running malware detection programs on the system or devices. Without doing so, you cannot ensure data privacy or application security on your project while using open-source tools or programs.
To check for such risks, you can use an open-source vulnerability scanner. They will help you identify all the vulnerabilities in the code and help you tackle them accordingly. Open-source vulnerability scanning should be a standard practice in the development and distribution of your projects. Whether it is a commercial project or a personal one, you cannot risk having security issues in it.
Keep Your Eyes Open for Updates
Open-source technologies are likely to have more frequent updates than other commercial tools or software. Since they are open-source, users will often modify these technologies and try to improve upon them. They might even end up producing something better than the original version of the technology.
Most open-source programs or tools have entire communities built around them. They share their findings and do whatever they can to make these tools or programs work better. As a result, developers release regular updates to ensure that the technology is running smoothly with better performance.
That is all you need to know before you start using open-source tools or programs for your projects. Get as creative as you can with these programs or tools. At the same time, be sure to keep tabs on the latest updates and security patches for them.