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What is proprietary software?

Proprietary software is any software that is copyrighted and bears limits against use, distribution and modification that are imposed by its publisher, vendor or developer. It’s used by end-users/organizations under predefined conditions.  

Proprietary software is primarily commercial software that can be bought, leased, or licensed from its vendor/developer. In general, proprietary software doesn’t provide end-users or subscribers with access to its source code. It can be purchased or licensed for a fee, but relicensing, distribution, or copying is prohibited. 

Closed source software may be prevalent these days, but that hasn’t always been the case. While the term “free software” came around the 1980s, and “open source” wasn’t coined until 1998, software was largely free of cost and restrictions before 1980. 

Pros and Cons:

Proprietary software has many advantages:  

•The product should be free of bugs. If bugs still exist, updates known as patches are often free of charge, which fixes these bugs.  

• The organization who supplied the software offers help if problems occur via the customer support team.  

• Feature updates which extend the software’s facilities are often available, although usually at a cost.  

• Widespread used and available proprietary software often has available support by many sources. 

Proprietary software also has several disadvantages:  

• There is an initial or ongoing (subscription) cost.  

• The software is not adaptable to meet the needs of the user. Only the machine code version of the software is distributable, which cannot be edited.  

• It can be limited to a single computer or network, so unless the license allows it, a user may not redistribute the software. 

Examples of proprietary software:

• Windows and OS X operating systems 

• Microsoft Office productivity suite 

• Adobe Creative Suite productivity software 

• Adobe Photoshop 

• Microsoft Word 

• Apple iTunes 

Open-source vs proprietary software

We’ve talked a lot about both proprietary software and open-source software, but what is the difference between the two and how do they compare directly?  

The truth is, both open-source software and proprietary software have their pros and cons. Open-source software usually comes at a lower cost as it has been created and developed by many different developers. However, there can be high costs for customizing open-source software if you are not tech-savvy. The same goes for the software’s maintenance and integration since it does not come with any support. That means that you must source your own third-party support.  
  • Conversely, proprietary software normally comes at a higher initial investment, but the developing company remains responsible for the upkeep of the software. They’ll usually release regular updates to fix bugs and improve the functionality and security of the software, so you can focus on actually using the software. 


Proprietary software legally remains the property of the organization, group, or individual who created it.    

It costs differently from a couple of thousand dollars to one hundred thousand dollars, depending upon the multifaceted nature of the framework needed.  
  • Proprietary software is considered secure as it is developed in a governed condition of the employees having a frequent direction 
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