What’s So Great about Open Source?

We’re WordPress fans for a number of reasons, including the user-friendly interface, the SEO-friendly nature of the CMS, and the efficiency and economy of using plug-ins. But there’s another benefit to WordPress that you might not have thought about: it’s open source.

If you hear “open source” and think “free,” you’re missing the best parts. Herewith, three things that are great about open source.

Open source technology, because it’s readily available rather than closely guarded, encourages collaboration and improvement. While Microsoft and competitors are spending time duplicating one another’s efforts and going to court to protect their secrets, a large and vibrant WordPress community is coming up with new ideas and improvements.

The number of people working on open source software like WordPress (as well as just WordPress itself, which is now in use for some 20% of all the websites in the universe) means that problems are found and fixed relatively quickly. Updates can be irritating to some users, but frequent updates mean that you aren’t left sighing over buggy programs for years.

Open source also means that you can use bits and pieces of different things together. We have a custom theme at this site, plus Pods, helpful plug-ins like Edit Flow, and paid services like ManageWP, all built by different companies and people, and they all work together. True, there can be compatibility issues between plugins and themes, but it’s a picnic compared to trying to get Shopify and Squarespace to work together. When you want one from column A and one from column B, open source allows it. Closed source commits you to one company’s offerings.

So that’s what’s so great about open source. We like the open source attitude, too, and the community orientation that goes with it, but that’s optional. You can appreciate the value of open source software without getting philosophical.







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