We decided to write this blog following some requests we received to provide full source of our software. It appears that some companies offer this option to provide the security that should the vendor go out of business, then they can always carry on using the software.
While this may sound great, we believe that in most cases, it is a myth and a venue that is rarely beneficial to the customer and here are some reasons why:
Most enterprise software products have been developed over years by multiple developers, have hundreds of thousands of lines of code and are typically not well documented. Getting your hands on a huge amount of code without any guidance is certainly not going to be most productive use of your time. It will drag your developer resources into an area you really did not have time for nor allocated a budget for.
The main reason you decided to purchase a product in the first place was to save time and focus on your core business. That premise does not change if a vendor has ended its support for a product. You still want to focus on your core business.
In the specific case of license management and security, providing source code to customers also means providing source code to potential hackers who could use the source code to find ways to hack it.
In most cases, even if the vendor has disappeared, you can still use their software for a fair period of time. This is a transition time to plan your next move.
Providing full source code may sound appealing and does give a false sense of security. In reality, if a product you purchased is no longer supported, your best bet is to find a similar product and integrate with it. After all, do you ask for the design specs of your TV when you buy one and then try to fix it yourself when it breaks? You just go and buy a new one. It’s unfortunate for sure but you need to move on as quickly as possible.