The 5 Most Common Problems in Open Source Software Development

Many software developers are already switching from proprietary to open source software due to the latter's numerous benefits. Such software is incredibly flexible and can be developed at a lower cost than the former. However, open source software development may not be as easy as it sounds. There are several problems you may encounter as you develop your own software. Here are 5 of the most common problems which you need to brace yourself for:

Platform Compatibility

Most of the applications platforms are only compatible with proprietary software. Only few platforms are flexible enough to run both proprietary and open source software. This presents a problem in testing and launching your open source software. That means you'll have to review a wide range of application platforms before you find one which is excellently compatible with your software. To prevent such an occurrence, do a comprehensive compatibility analysis of all the software which can run on the relevant platforms. The subsequent findings should be incorporated into your open source software.

Pre-Release Review

One of the most fundamental stages of software development is the Pre-release Review. The software has to be released to some users and reviewed before its official release date. This stage is helpful in determining bugs and receiving feedback from the users. Unlike proprietary software, open source software usually has quite a small number of users who are willing to review it prior to its release. Not many people are usually psyched up for reviewing open source software in the development stage. This is probably because they already know that the software will be free even after it's officially released. Therefore, it's beneficial to them to wait for the final software than use the pre-release version. To avoid such a problem, you need to market the software way before the Pre-release date. This creates some market anticipation ahead of its release. Therefore, more people will be willing to download, use and review the software.

Inadequate Reports

Open source software development largely relies on the input and reports from the individual users. Users significantly contribute in the parallel development of open source software versions. However, receiving the contribution itself is a problem. Most users simply download the software and leave it at that. Most of them don't bother providing any reports on it. You can get around this problem by individually contacting users/developers and requesting them to provide reports. You should therefore request for email addresses from the users before they download your software.

Competition Between Developers

Parallel open source software development usually encourages competition between the individual developers. Each of your developers has a different viewpoint of the software and will consequently clash with the others just to get some features incorporated into the software. This may finally result into a final product which doesn't actually meet your organizational goals. It's therefore crucial to encourage the developers to work together in the development process to ensure the organizational goals are met in the final open source software product.

Security Threats

An open source software is accessible to a wide range of developers and users who can further develop it or integrate it to many other platforms. That means that it's relatively easy for malicious programmers to develop malicious codes to attack the software. This however, can be prevented by developing a sturdy and secure underlying framework. Additionally, you should ensure that you have a team of developers to tackle any security threats during the software development and after it's released.