Advantages and disadvantages of an open-source messenger
Open-source software is distributed together with its source code making it possible for developers to modify it, improve and modernize to fit their needs. Typically, this type of software includes a license which allows programmers to make changes in it. In this blog post we will talk about open-source messengers, their advantages and disadvantages.
When choosing a communication platform, you need to take into account not only its features and price, but also ensure that it is secure, supported by the vendor and has convenient and intuitive user interface. However, if you decided to go with an open-source messaging platform you need to ensure that you have enough resources to support it and integrate into your workflow.
Various large corporations look for flexible messaging platform which can be improved and updated to fit their business needs, such as additional admin controls, compliance with industry requirements, etc. In this case they may opt for an open-source messaging platform with a certain level of transparency and flexibility. So, what kind of challenges they will face while using an open-source messenger for their corporate communication needs?
Advantages of open-source messenger
First of all, let's talk about advantages of the open-source messaging software.
There are free and paid open-source chat platforms available on the market. Both offer an ability to customize the messaging software to fit corporate needs:
- Cost effectiveness: by choosing free open-source messaging platform, you will save on subscription costs
- Flexibility: you can optimize the messaging platform to fit your corporate needs
- Transparency: your developers can check the source code, fix security issues and improve the software
If you decide to adopt an open-source messenger for your corporate communication needs, you should have a strong team of technicians who will work on product integration, development and support. This involves certain costs which will be higher than the price of other vendors.
Disadvantages of open-source messenger
With all mentioned above advantages you may face a lot of challenges while using open-source messengers:
Though market leaders such as Rocket.Chat mention security as an advantage of open-source messaging platform, there are facts you need to take into consideration. Developers in community quickly fix issues and share their solutions. However, are they reliable if no one takes any responsibility if your corporate data leaks due to security gaps? Even if the open-source messenger is provided on a subscription basis and the vendor fixes issues, there are various hackers who will find weak sides in the open-source code and may use this knowledge to steal data. On the other side, proprietary messaging software is more secure as its source code is closed, and all bug fixes and optimizations are made by vendor's team of developers.
Not straightforward in usage
User interface is the last thing developers contribute to. They try to add new interesting and useful features, customize the software, fix bugs. While being technically skilled, they do not find issues with using open-source solutions. However, for ordinary users it may be difficult to use such software. Messaging platforms are not an exception. Vendors of business messaging platforms such as Slack or Microsoft Teams do their best to improve user interface and provide smooth experience while using their software.
The only place for support for open-source software is the community where you can ask questions or find answers to your questions. However, if you use paid business messenger, then the basic support is included into price. If necessary, you can request premium support and even custom features development. In any case, when you are having an urgent issue, proprietary software might be a better choice.
The down the road costs can run up. You cannot address your issues directly to the vendor since there may be no support available. Thus, you will need to deal with them in-house with help of your team of technicians or hire an expert. This, as a result leads to additional costs which you did not take into account while opting for an open-source messenger.
It is difficult to say whether open-source messenger will be a viable solution for your business. However, we recommend using Virola corporate messenger. It is not open-source, but it is very flexible and the development team works on custom features requests and helps integrate Virola business messenger into your working environment.