Open Source Software (OSS) is a type of software in which its source code is freely available to the Internet, whereby its copyright holder allows others to collaborate, inspect, and modify the code.
Proprietary software, on the other hand, (sometimes referred to as “closed source software”) describes software in which only its original authors can legally control, inspect, edit or alter it. These types of software usually come with a license agreement which users have to agree to before they can use it. Common examples of proprietary software you have probably used are Microsoft Office and Adobe Acrobat.
There are significant differences between these two variations of software, and each has benefits and drawbacks of their own.
While proprietary software has its advantages in maintaining developers’ rights (something pretty important considering there are plenty of impersonating software out there looking to copy popular ones), we personally tend to lean in the direction of open source software.
Sure, proprietary software is popular among developer studios looking to protect their assets and provide security for their intellectual property, however open source programs are bigger with developers who decide to crowdfund their ideas.
Because open source software is open to a community of contributors, it really just gets everyone involved and feeling like they are investing into the project, from a non-monetary perspective. Essentially, it is what they say “by the people, for the people”.
Not to mention, open source programs will put a lot less stress on the developing team to develop every single part of the program, when the program can be self-reliant on contributors.
You might be wondering: if an open source program has its code openly available to anyone, what about the hackers of the world who intentionally mess it up?
Picture this: Open source is like a Royal Palace which has its gates open to the public every day. You can expect a lot of visitors coming to see His and Her Royal Highness, but you cannot however tell the difference between the assassins getting pass the guards cloaked as a normal visitor. Not saying that it will happen, but the possibility is there.
Now imagine if the Palace gates were closed to the public. Would this still guarantee to keep all assassins out?
No. It still is not.
Thus, it is the same case for open source and proprietary software. The advantage of open source in this case is that should an issue or bug appear in its coding, instead of waiting on 20 levels of support desk teams to raise just one issue or provide feedback, anyone with coding knowledge could literally jump in, apply to be a contributor, and make the tool better.
You are not just making the software better, you are growing your network and more importantly discussing the things that really matter with regards to the software with the people who played a role in making it what it is today. It invokes communication and rapport building with other contributors to get their feedback.
With all these cases of data being sold from one organisation to another, open source systems will create a more transparent view of what is actually going on in the back end of the software build (also, remember the controversy of when Kaspersky security software being exploited to breach US government information systems?)
Wouldn’t you rather know whether or not a certain Facebook algorithm was turning on and recording from your phone’s mic to send you more targeted ads?
Open source projects typically incorporate a model named “pull support model” in which users monitor the project for updates, and continuously monitor for any vulnerabilities. It is an agreement that users/contributors have a responsibility to flag if anything seems fishy. This not only gives people the chance to discuss and review changes, but also empower the users as gatekeepers, ensuring that issues/bugs/even attacks are identified before they get published.
Ideally, the owner of the software could also keep a repository of the code and back it up prior to a software release or update. This is pretty much Programming 101, but while having a backup kept in a secure condition might not avoid an attack, it mitigates the effects of one.
Additionally, there are also automation tools to help keep a project secure. These tools can help in ways of scouring through the code to locate any malicious files, pinpointing problems in your code, or blocking files and pieces of malicious code from executing.
What kind of VPN is BolehVPN?
BolehVPN is based off OpenVPN, an open source software application that implements Virtual Private Network (VPN) techniques for creating secure point-to-point or site-to-site connections in routed or bridged configurations and remote access facilities.
OpenVPN is widely accepted as one of the most secure VPN implementations out there and largely considered to be the best protocol to achieve high levels of security based around open source audits.