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Is there a difference between Open Source and Licensed Software? (Everything you need to know)

Is there a difference between Open Source and Licensed Software

 Yes, there is. While the source code of open-source software is available to the public, the source code of licensed software is not available to the public.

For you to pick software solutions for your organization, you should first understand how the different options compare. Some software solutions you can pick from include licensed and open source. We created this post to help you figure out how these two differ. Read on.

Introduction to licensed software

This refers to proprietary software that is distributed to only authorized users under a licensing agreement. Since only dedicated developers can contribute to the code, this is a great software solution for those in need of low-security risks. The licensing agreements of this software allow a business with licensed software to preserve control of its brand.

Apart from the original authors of the software, nobody else can alter, inspect, or legally copy it. Licensed software includes support for issues that may arise. This software solution can help you solve issues that may cost your organization money.

What is open-source software?

Open-source software is the opposite of licensed software. The authors of this make the code available to others. This means one can view the code, change it, share or even learn from it.

Open-source software has existed for a long time and is recognized by many people.

One of the benefits of using open source software is that one can protect their source code against a user utilizing it in ways they did not authorize. The problem with this software solution is that it does not offer any support for fixing issues.

So, how do they differ?

Now that you understand each software solution, you should learn how they differ. Some of their differences include the following.


While open-source software is free, licensed software comes at a cost. Sometimes paying for a software solution may be better than choosing the free option since you can enjoy things like improved functionality.


We mentioned that licensed software comes with support. This can come in handy if you don’t have technical skills. When you choose open-source software, you may not enjoy ongoing support.

Here are more differences between open source and licensed software

Open-source Licensed software
The source code is public. The source code is not public since it is protected.
One does not require authenticated license to utilize it One requires a valid license to utilize it


This is more flexible. It is less flexible
The community of developers fixes bugs fast. The vendor fixes any malfunctions.


Both software solutions have merits and demerits that you should assess before settling for one. As you pick the most suitable option, remember to consider the technical expertise of your team.


Which of the two is more secure?

Licensed software is more secure since it is developed in a more controlled environment. Open-source software is not always the best for some organizations due to security concerns.

What is the disadvantage of licensed software?

This is less flexible since the developer dictates what you can and cannot do with it.