When planning a dynamic website, using Open Source Software (OSS) can make a lot of sense. I think there is enough information out there about why OSS is the cat’s meow, so here are a few reasons I’ve hear from people that don’t want to use Open Source Software for their web development projects:

  • “I don’t know anything about it” is a common refrain I hear from larger institutions. This usually translates as “I don’t know anyone that does it”. Oftentimes larger organizations will have established relationships—historical, contractual or personal—with proprietary developers.

  • “All the examples are really awful” is a statement I have to agree with, but fortunately there is an explanation. Open Source CMS software like Drupal or Wordpress is free and relatively easy to use. Thus these systems have an enormous number of people using them; people with no design or development experience. Therefore there exists a very small signal-to-noise ratio of beautiful and usable websites to poorly designed or out-of-the-box examples. This means you’re much more likely to run across the latter.

  • “I hear it’s insecure” is a common and legitimate concern whether you’re using open source software, buying a proprietary system, or building from the ground up. Unfortunately, the explanation for this common refrain is very similar to the aesthetic complaint: because the install base of these systems is so large, there exist many more instances of improper or unsafe configurations or failures to properly update software.