Open Source vs. Proprietary Platforms | USM Interactive

Open Source vs. Proprietary Platforms

November 6, 2014 by USM Interactive

Website platforms are kind of like hiking; there are two roads you can take to a custom web design. Platforms can be categorized into two groups: open source and proprietary. The path of proprietary systems represents an uphill climb with only a handful of people to help you reach the summit. The path of open source systems is kind of like a casual jaunt through the woods with crowds of your best buds to help you reach the top.

But before we make a final verdict on what makes for a better website, let’s break down the definitions a little bit:

Proprietary Systems:

  • Are developed and supported by a single company.
  • Usually have a private source-code.
  • Are generally hosted by the company that created them.
  • Are slow to provide functional updates.

Open Source Systems:

  • Are built and maintained by groups of qualified people all over the world with a shared interest in making a better product.
  • The source code is open to everyone.  Anyone with the skills and time can extend and modify the code and create new functionality as required.
  • You can host an open source web site with just about any ISP or hosting company on their servers or your own.
  • Are typically free – or at least the software itself is. Customisation, design, and hosting are not.

In 2011, USM Interactive saw the value in moving websites towards an open source platform set-up. It was good for us because it was far more advanced, it was less expensive to maintain, and it required far less overhead.

It’s good for you because we can now turn sites around more quickly and easily implement design updates (as opposed to total overhauls). Even better, it’s simple to use.  Making the switch to WordPress allowed our clients to have far more freedom in how they managed their websites.

While there are still plenty of proprietary platforms still available (including one by USM), the development of open source technology allows many options for something out-of-the-box.  So what’s the difference?  We love analogies at USM Interactive, so here we go….

Having a site built on an open source platform is akin to having a car with a tank of gas that’s always full and always passes inspection. It’s like in Star Wars when Luke’s X-Wing gets hit by laser cannons and R2 rushes out to repair his stabilizer in mid-flight. Yea… I went full-nerd.

Back to what platform to build your website on…

Having a site built on a proprietary platform is – usually – like building a new house on a mud foundation.  No matter how pretty the house is, it’s still being supported by something unreliable.

No matter what industry your business is in, it is far more likely that you will be able to achieve your web goals through an open source CMS. Consider both options as you move forward with your business’ online presence. Shoot me an EMAIL or give me a call. Let’s chat. I’d be happy to help you weigh the pros and cons of both options.