All software development takes time and expertise, but there are many models for funding software development, and different models of ownership.
Proprietary software (sometimes referred to as closed source software) is software that legally remains the property of the organisation, group, or individual who created it. The organisation that owns the rights to the product usually does not release the source code, and may insist that only those who have purchased a special licence key can use it.
Free software (also called freeware) is licensed at no cost, or for an optional fee. It is usually closed source.
Open source software is free and openly available to everyone. People who create open source products publish the code and allow others to use and modify it. Communities of programmers often work together to develop the software and to support users. Open source products are usually tested in public by online contributors.
Large companies such as Twitter, Facebook and the BBC make use of open source technology. For example, the BBC makes use of MySQL and it creates open source software, such as the program to improve the compatibility of iPlayer on smart TVs.
|Licensing||Users are licensees. They have the right to copy, modify and share the product||Users are licensees. They cannot copy, modify or share the product|
|Cost of product||Free||Not free (unless it is freeware)|
|Example software||Python, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome, Mysql, GIMP, Linux||Internet Explorer, Photoshop, Call of Duty, Windows, iOS, iTunes|
|Vendor lock-in||Users can switch to other alternative open source products, or modify the software||Users rely on the vendor to support and update the product|
|Updates and improvements||A community of contributors with a range of expertise can contribute to the continuous improvement of the product||The vendor is in complete charge of the update cycle and developing new features|