Is Open Source Software Right for Your Business?
In this topic, we will discuss what Open Source Software (OSS) is and how it could help your business and your bottom line.
In its basic sense, Open Source Software is better known as OSS. OSS is basically software that is built by developers from all over the world and released to the world for FREE including its source code. Yes, FREE as in $0.00 Cost! There are certain licenses that govern how the software may be used or distributed. But you are FREE to modify their source code and use it or share it as you wish.
OSS Includes everything from Operating Systems, Applications, and Utilities. That being said there is often a lot of old misinformation out there on the internet about OSS and in this article, we hope to dispell some of these common misconceptions.
It used to be said that “You Get What You Pay For” and there wasn’t any good support for open-source software, no one to call if you have an issue. And while that may have only been half-true back 10-15 years ago, it is not so much the case these days.
There are IT Companies such as ours out there who can support most of the common OSS applications and operating systems. The OSS Developers while releasing their applications for free usually have a paid support plan which allows you to prepay for a determined amount of support hours or tickets. But if none of those two options is the right fit for your company, there are often many free communities and message boards where you can seek self-help from other people online.
Sure it sounds scary that this OSS and it’s code is freely distributed and allowed to be modified and redistributed by anyone online. But, many of the OSS developers have a structured organization team in place to vet source code changes submitted by strangers. The vetting process not only includes debugging but also tested for security and integrity by professional security auditors.
There are sometimes where things get overlooked, but it’s less likely to happen when compared to its counterparts, such as Microsoft, etc.
Updates and Bug Fixes:
You would certainly be surprised to learn that in fact, many mainstream OSS projects offer more frequent updates and bug fixes than your traditional Closed-Source software companies like Adobe and Microsoft.
For instance, Microsoft only releases regular updates once a month on Microsoft Windows whereas an Open Source Operating System such as Ubuntu Linux often releases updates and bug fixes daily, sometimes multiple times a day!
One of the most common myths we hear is that OSS is hard to use or incompatible with XYZ. And while that may have been the case 10 or 15 years ago, a lot has changed to make OSS easier to use and very much more compatible with modern-day technology, especially with so many applications now being hosted in the “Cloud”.
Just as an example, many Windows Operating System users generally use Microsoft Office, Outlook Email, and Quickbooks on their business computers. Their OSS counterparts are LibreOffice, Thunderbird Email, and GNUCash. What’s more, is that most of these OSS alternatives also work on Windows, Linux, and Mac!
And that’s not to say that even if you were to use an OSS Operating System such as Ubuntu Linux you could opt for Cloud Hosted Services like GSuite and Quickbooks Online.
If you think about the cost savings alone when compared to license renewals from Closed Source Software and factor in Security and the Flexibility and freedom you get when you use OSS products, your business could save a lot of money and operate smoother.