7 Reasons Open Source Software Should Be Avoided: Page 2 of 2

As much potential as open source software can provide, there are several reasons why embedded software developers should avoid it like the plague.

Reason #5 – Poor documentation or documentation that is lacking completely

Documentation has been getting better among open source projects that have been around for a long time or that have strong commercial backing. Smaller projects though that are driven by individuals tend to have little to no documentation. If the open source code doesn’t have documentation, putting it into practice or debugging it is going to be a nightmare and more expensive than just getting commercial or industrial-grade software.

Reason # 6 – Real-time support is lacking

There are few things more frustrating than doing everything you can to get something to work or debugged and you just hit the wall. When this happens, the best way to resolve the issue is to get support. The problem with open source is that there is no guarantee that you will get the support you need in a timely manner to resolve any issues. Sure, there are forums and social media to request help but those are manned by people giving up their free time to help solve problems. If they don’t have the time to dig into a problem, or the problem isn’t interesting or is too complex, then the developer is on their own.

Reason #7 – Integration is never as easy as it seems

The website was found, the demonstration video was awesome. This is the component to use. Look at how easy it is! The source is downloaded and the integration begins. Months later, integration is still going on. What appeared easy quickly turned complex because the same platform or toolchain wasn’t being used. “Minor” modifications had to be made. The rabbit hole just keeps getting deeper but after this much time has been sunk into the integration, it cannot be for naught.

Conclusions

By no means am I against open source software. It’s been extremely helpful and beneficial in certain circumstances. It’s important though not to just use software because it’s free and open source. Developers need to recognize their requirements, needs, and the robustness level that they require for their product and appropriately develop or source software that meets those needs rather than blindly selecting software because it’s “free.”

Jacob Beningo is an embedded software consultant who currently works with clients in more than a dozen countries to dramatically transform their businesses by improving product quality, cost and time to market. He has published more than 200 articles on embedded software development techniques, is a sought-after speaker and technical trainer and holds three degrees which include a Masters of Engineering from the University of Michigan. Feel free to contact him at [email protected], at his website www.beningo.com/, and sign-up for his monthly Embedded Bytes Newsletter.

 

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