This is a type of software that can be directly purchased from a store or retailer and can be quickly and easily installed. Examples include: Word processing software like Microsoft Office Word and Antivirus like Norton Antivirus.
Easy to use and install
Easily available at many supplier stores
It has been extensively tested and therefore there aren’t many bugs or errors
Support is easily available either from the producer or from online forums
Cheaper because developer costs are split among many users
Has many features which are useful for a variety of users
Doesn’t always meet all the specific requirements of the client
Training may be required to use some aspects of the software
May require extensive customisation
Often contains unnecessary functions that take up a lot of memory space
May not be compatible with the client's hardware.
Custom written/Bespoke software:
This is a type of software that is specifically made to meet the requirements of a specific client. It is often created if there are no "off-the-shelf" alternatives or in order to suit a business’ software requirements.
Can be developed to meet the exact needs of the client.
If there is a maintenance contract then bug fixes can be scheduled regularly.
Can be specialised to work in a particular field and can be modified as the the business grows.
It can take a long time to develop and create.
Can be very expensive as all costs are paid by one client.
Bugs may be more common as there are fewer users and less extensive testing.
Open Source software:
Software where the source code is available for editing and has been placed in the public domain for anyone to use. Examples include: Linux, Firefox and LibreOffice.
It is generally free.
It can be altered as the source code is available.
It can be very efficient and extremely reliable as the software is often produced by experienced programmers as side-project and its availability to many people allows for good contributions and faster development.
Bugs or errors can be common as there is no regulated maintenance.
Lack of direct support if any problems are encountered and external costs may be required to gain help.
Updates can be infrequent.
This is a type of software where the source code isn't available to the public and requires a license or contract to use. Examples include: Adobe Photoshop, Google Chrome and Microsoft Office Word.
Support is abundant and problems are easy to resolve.
It is usually extensively tested so there aren’t many bugs or errors.
Updates our frequent and regularly scheduled.
Original and unique to existing market competitors.
It can be expensive to acquire.
There may be deliberate incompatibilities so that users our locked-in and sales are driven towards newer versions.