Commercial Software Versus Open Source: Breaking Down What You Need to Know

When it comes to software, the federal government has long grappled with whether to build or buy software-based systems. However, commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) versus open source software does not have to be an either-or decision.

In this pocket guide, we’ll debunk myths to help agencies make informed decisions about COTS versus open source, while highlighting the importance of open standards that guarantee interoperability of products and solutions.

Specifically, you’ll explore:

  • When to use COTS versus open source.
  • Current statistics on the use and perception of COTS in the public sector.
  • Case studies from the city of Denver and the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.


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