Small businesses always seek to extract the most value possible from products and services that help run and grow their businesses, and software is no exception. “Open source” software programs and products became very popular with the dawn of the Internet era. It is important to dispel the notion we often hear that open source is not the same as no cost.
The official definition of Open Source according to the Open Source Initiative (http://opensource.org/osd) is free unlimited distribution of the software and exposing of its source code to the public. This allows for community collaboration and improvement of the software. There are both free open source software products and commercial open source products that touch many different areas of business. The commercial products, while not to directly collecting royalties on the software, make money by selling related services such as technical support, warranties, customizations or licensing trademarks.
The classic open source versus non-open source comparison can be seen in the PC operating system space where Windows has ruled for years with its proprietary software architecture as opposed to Linux which has many different versions available.
Assuming your business has no desire to take an open source software product and “make it your own” by modifying the source code for your own purposes, then the evaluation of open source solutions should be conducted in the same manner that you would evaluate any software product. In addition to cost and functionality, important considerations such as support and future product viability need to be carefully taken when evaluating any potential software solution.
In a future entry, we’ll look at some of our favorite open source solutions for businesses like yours.
With questions on how open source software can benefit your business, contact Superior Technology Solutions at (845) 735-3555 or visit www.superiortechnology.com.
Comments are closed.