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Overview of Proprietary Software

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  • Last Updated : 25 Nov, 2021
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Software is a set of instructions that tells a computer’s hardware to perform a specific task. The set of instructions that is the basis of any software is known as source code. 

Some of the examples of software are :

Games you play on your electronic devices, OS and applications (Google, Amazon, FB, IG, Twitter, etc.).  

When the developers release their software to the end-users (customers), the software is either released as open source or closed source.  

  • Open source software refers to the software in which source code is visible to the public and the software is usually free to use.
  • Anyone can use the source code, study how it works, distribute and/or modify the source code to improve the performance of the software.
  • Closed source software is the opposite of open source as you can guess.
  • Closed source software is also popularly known as proprietary software and commercial software.

In this article we will know about what is proprietary software, which is better open source or proprietary software and finally advantages and disadvantages of proprietary software. So, let’s start exploring the topic.

Proprietary Software :

Proprietary means ownership. If anyone wants to use the proprietary software, then a license has to be purchased from the owner for using the software.  

The source code of this kind of software is not visible to anyone except the owner. The owner can be the developer or the organization releasing the software.  

So even when you pay the fee to obtain the license, you don’t have any access and rights to view, copy, distribute or modify the source code of the proprietary software. 

In other words, you simply pay to get a “license to use as per the guidelines given by the owner” nothing else. As a buyer, you can use it. And the owner can officially distribute the software to any number of buyers. If the ownership is transferred to someone else, then that one gains the authority to view, copy, distribute, modify the proprietary software.  

Open source or Proprietary software, Which One is Better ?

Open source software may seem to be the best choice since it’s usually free and the source code is accessible without any restrictions.  

But that software is not customized or may not be in perfect form for the users. So the community around the world collaborates to keep improving the source code by removing errors, adding features to make the software more efficient and convenient.

Some features and technical support of the open source software may incur charges. And user-friendliness of the open software may not be as good as proprietary software.  

Proprietary software needs to be purchased in order to use it and has some restrictions as mentioned in the guidelines. Yet this software is highly customized for specific purposes and more user friendly than the open source.  

Advantages of Proprietary software :

  • Stability. It will work perfectly as you expected while purchasing the software.
  • Reliable software and, customer service is easier to access.
  • Highly user-friendly and the software is customized to specific purposes.
  • Unique. Packed with multiple features.

Disadvantages of Proprietary software :

  • Even when you purchase the license, you have several restrictions on using the software and you can’t modify it.
  • The usage of the software may be restricted like ‘can only be installed on one computer’. So depending on the agreement, the installation of software on different workstations varies.
  • If it has any missing features or bugs, then you have to wait until they are resolved by the owner.

Some Examples of Proprietary Software :

  • Microsoft Windows
  • macOS
  • iOS
  • Avast antivirus
  • Adobe Photoshop, illustrator and the rest of the software in the suite
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