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Open source and Linux are becoming increasingly well-known and well-respected because of the myriad benefits they offer. Seventy-eight percent of businesses of all sizes across all industries now choose open-source software over alternative proprietary solutions, according to ZDNet. Facebook, Twitter and Google are among the many companies currently using, sponsoring, and contributing to open-source projects. Although Linux and open source are widely recognized for the advantages they provide, there are still many myths and misconceptions surrounding them.

At Guardian Digital, we’ve dedicated decades to developing open-source security software for businesses, small and large. We know that open source’s flexibility and real-time adaptability is a core part of what makes our enterprise email security solution secure-by-design. To ensure that our customers know about the open-source security advantage, we’ve created an FAQ about Linux and open source:

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Question: What are the advantages of the open-source development model? How can using and contributing to open-source software benefit my business?

Answer: Open source offers an array of inherent advantages which include increased security, superior product quality, lower costs and greater freedom and flexibility compared to other models. It also is accompanied by strong community values and high standards, which encourage the highest levels of creativity and innovation in engineering. All of that means that when we offer our clients open-source software, it’s been vetted time and time again, with experts across the world constantly adapting it to keep up with the changing times and technologies.

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Question: In general, how does open-source software compare to proprietary alternatives on the market?

Answer: Open-source software is generally both more reliable and more secure than proprietary alternatives available on the market because of the transparency and collaboration involved in its development and review. Experts from around the world are able to access open-source code, discuss the development of open-source products and work together to discover vulnerabilities and solve problems. This collaboration leads to exceptional levels of innovation and achievement.

Open-source software has inherently high levels of security due to the visibility surrounding open-source projects. Because open-source software is thoroughly reviewed by the community, potential security issues are detected and fixed extremely rapidly. In addition, by choosing open-source products over proprietary alternatives, people and organizations avoid the risk of vendor-lock in and maintain the freedom and flexibility to switch to another product if they are unsatisfied for any reason. Proprietary software can also be dangerously rigid, needing constant “patches,” if not entire re-hauls, to keep up with the constantly changing cyber threat landscape. Those patches and re-hauls aren’t necessarily without cost, as new versions are often sold separately. Even more concerning, proprietary software vendors don’t always inform clients when there are potential problems in their products until a breach, or other similar damage, has already occurred.

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Question: What are the advantages of choosing Linux over other operating systems?

Answer: Because Linux is an operating system comprised of open-source technology, security flaws are recognized and eliminated before they become an issue for the public, making Linux inherently secure. Proprietary alternatives like Microsoft Windows are relatively easy targets for malicious coders, making these operating systems likely victims of malware and viruses. Linux also offers a wide range of options, with several distributions currently available and free to download. Finally, Linux is extremely reliable. In comparison, Microsoft Windows is considered significantly less reliable due to the sacrifices made to increase user-friendliness.

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Question: How can I contribute to the Linux/open-source community? How can my business benefit from my contribution?

Answer: Open source and Linux are surrounded by vibrant communities with the shared goal of creating top-notch products and solutions that are as useful and effective as possible. These communities work together to benefit individuals, organizations and society as a whole through innovative engineering. Depending on a person’s specific skills and training, each individual can contribute to the open-source community in a unique and meaningful way, even if it is simply by choosing open-source products over proprietary alternatives. Businesses will benefit from supporting open-source development and the Linux community by receiving the best software options on the market for the most affordable prices.