Aspects to consider acquiring open source or closed source software

Uit ITforResearch bij Universiteit Utrecht


From time to time, organizations need to acquire new software or reconsider the use of software they already have. One of the challenges they face is whether to employ open source or closed source software. Such a choice is not a simple “we are proponents of open source software” or “we are opponents of the products of big tech”. Since every acquisition process is different, no general advice can be given.

A responsible decision involves a number of aspects, which together determine the correct selection for a specific situation. All persons involved with a software product (the stakeholders, e.g. users, application management, organization management, legal counselors) should be involved in this process. Probably this might not be an easy process, because the aspects to consider are often very different, which may make a comparison complicated.

This document lists a number of questions (or aspects) related to open or closed source software acquisition. Answers to these questions may guide stakeholders in making an informed and conscious decision to the best solution for their specific situation. Preferably, all arguments that have been considered in this process are being recorded, so that others may learn from it.

Read more at Aspects to consider acquiring open source or closed source software, Rik D.T. Janssen (2023).