Advantages of open source software Today open source software has become critical for almost every organization. Almost everything requires open source software, be it telecommunication systems, inventory, accounting, personal productivity applications, contact management and operating systems amongst others. At Outsource2india, we have experienced and skilled software engineers who can proficiently build a software system by using open source software. With our expertise in java development, we can also develop application blocks. We also use our system integration services to make sure that the new application that we create can be easily integrated with your existing systems. Outsource open source software development to O2I and benefit from high-quality services at a cost-effective price. Open source software can have a major impact on your entire organization. There are several advantages of using open source software. The following are a list of the advantages of opting for open source software. 1. Lesser hardware costs Since Linux and open source solutions are easily portable and compressed, it takes lesser hardware power to carry out the same tasks when compared to the hardware power it takes on servers, such as, Solaris, Windows or workstations. With this less hardware power advantage, you can even use cheaper or older hardware and still get the desired results. 2. High-quality software Open source software is mostly high-quality software. When you use the open source software, the source code is available. Most open source software are well-designed. Open source software can also be efficiently used in coding. These reasons make open source software an ideal choice for organizations. 3. No vendor lock-in IT managers in organizations face constant frustration when dealing with vendor lock-ins'. Lack of portability, expensive license fees and inability to customize software are some of the other disadvantages. Using open source software gives you more freedom and you can effectively address all these disadvantages. 4. Integrated management By using open source software, you can benefit from integrated management. Open source software uses technologies, such as, common information model (CIM) and web based enterprise management (WBEM). These high-end technologies enable you to integrate and combine server, application, service and workstation management. This integration would result in efficient administration. 5. Simple license management When you use open source software, you would no longer need to worry about licenses. Open source software enables you to install it several times and also use it from any location. You will be free from monitoring, tracking or counting license compliance. 6. Lower software costs Using open source software can help you minimize your expenses. You can save on licensing fees and maintenance fees. The only expenses that you would encounter would be expenditure for documentation, media and support. 7. Abundant support You will get ample support when you use open source software. Open source support is mostly freely available and can be easily accessed through online communities. There are also many software companies that provide free online help and also varied levels of paid support. Most organization who create open source software solutions also provide maintenance and support. 8. Scaling and consolidating Linux and open source software can be easily scaled. With varied options for clustering, load balancing and open source applications, such as email and database, you can enable your organization to either scale up and achieve higher growth or consolidate and achieve more with less. Outsourcing open source software development services to O2I At O2I, we can provide you with the perfect open source software solution that effectively meets the requirements of your organization. We can help you assess, design and develop an open source solution that is customized for your organization. Outsource to O2I and get access to professional, cost-effective and high-quality services. Outsource open source software development to O2I and give your organization a competitive edge! Read about Service Oriented Architecture (SOA). Find out more about Software-as-a-Service(SaaS). Open Source Software are free applications released under special licensing terms where the core coding is viewable and able to be edited to suit the needs of the user. Basically, an author or company creates an application then releases it for free distribution, sometimes in co-ordinated projects where it can be further developed by a community of programmers, working individually or in teams, to further refine the product. Sometimes thousands of programmers are involved. Open Source applications cover a myriad of uses - from entertainment to enterprise ecommerce. In fact, there's a very good chance that the server your site is hosted on may be powered entirely or in part by Open Source products. A couple of well known examples of Open Source software are phpBB, a forum system, and FreeBSD, a server operating system from BSD, a version of UNIX® . The principles of Open Source Software Free redistribution Source code must be included Must allow modifications and derived works Integrity of the author's source code No discrimination Against Persons or Groups No discrimination against fields of endeavor A single license must apply to all users License must Be technology-neutral Further information regarding these principles can be viewed on the Open Source Initiative (OSI) site. Licensing usually falls under two categories - the GNU GPL and the GNU LGPL. The major difference between the two is that the LGPL has more restrictions on use and redistribution. While the core software itself is free, there can be aspects that aren't. For example, you can be charged for a CD containing a copy of the software. Other important aspects I'll discuss in more detail later on in this article. Advantages of using Open Source software Open Source software has formed the base of many successful and profitable businesses. Some of the advantages include: Core software is free If you're just getting started in online business, cost can be a major factor. Using Open Source software can really cut down on your initial capital outlay. It's also my firm belief that the Open Source community has helped to rein in prices on commercial software over the years. Evolving software As mentioned, some Open Source software projects can have huge communities of programmers involved, allowing for the rapid implementation of new features and security fixes. The communities of users and programmers are also invaluable resources for asking questions relating to troubleshooting and suggesting enhancements. Encourages hands on When you're short on cash, you are more than likely to want to make modifications to software yourself. I'm no programmer, but the use of Open Source software has encouraged me to go beyond the user interface; to dig into code to try and understand what it does and to make minor edits. As a business owner, it doesn't hurt to understand a little of the voodoo that goes on behind the scenes in the software you use on your site. Not tied to a single vendor If you purchase a commercial application, you can then become reliant on a single company to solve your problems and maintain the software - which can also be very expensive. Some commercial software companies may only provide support and upgrades for a limited time before you need to fork out for any further enhancements or assistance. Disadvantages of using Open Source software There's a flip side to everything, and in the case of Open Source software it all boils down to the old saying of "there's no such thing as a free lunch". Most of the disadvantages only apply if you're not somewhat code-savvy and willing to get your hands dirty: Projects can die Just as with commercial applications, some Open Source projects stall and die - programmers just lose interest with being involved or they become fraught with infighting; arresting further development. You may be left using an application that is full of security bugs, with no-one to fix them; or if you can get them fixed, it will usually require paying someone to do it. Support issues If you are using commercial software, the vendor has an obligation to assist you in a timely manner, especially where security bugs are involved. You may find an annoying bug in an Open Source application that you need assistance with, but you may not get it without paying someone to fix it. Even with general questions, if you take a look at many forums that act as support centers Open Software applications, you'll see that it's not unusual for questions to go unanswered. The Open Source community does not have a legal obligation to answer your questions. In some cases, you'll need to figure it out for yourself or hire the services of a knowledgeable contractor. A recent example - I was working with a popular application and a bug became apparent that also had implications in relation to data security. A post made to the support forums went unanswered, so it was necessary to utilize staff to track down the issue and fix it. Total cost, including my time, would have worked out to be a few hundred dollars. To have purchased a commercial equivalent of the application would have cost the same; so in that instance a commercial application would have been a more appropriate choice. If you're someone who needs phone support or personalized email support - forget using Open Source software, unless you are prepared to pay for it. Open Source support usually consists of forums only. New features Just because you think something would be a great new feature for the software, it doesn't mean the rest of the community may think so :). Again, you may find yourself shelling out to have the feature implemented in your copy of the software. Making the decision - things to consider With the plethora of Open Source applications available, you might conclude that you'll never have to buy software. That is quite true, but where you will probably pay for it is in time. Time to set it up, time in modification and time in troubleshooting. If you don't have the time for those things, you'll need to determine if you have the cash to employ others before you go ahead with implementation. Not only that, but whether reliable contractors are available to maintain the software. If you do decide that Open Source software is right for you, examine all the various software options carefully first. Is the software well established or still in it's infancy? Are there regular updates, patches and new features? Is there a support forum? Are the support forums active? Do forum participants help each other out? Are reputable companies using the software? Is the documentation complete and coherent? What are the general costs with hiring contractors who are familiar with the software? The entire online community, from end users to webmasters and merchants owes the Open Source community a great deal for what it's accomplished over the years. When considering whether to use Open Source software for your online business, it's important to bear in mind that the concept of "free" is related to freedom more than to dollars. Below are some of the advantages that open source offers: Take control of your software Open source software gives you the power to control your software's code. You have the right to modify the code to suit your requirements and control the budgets that you want to spend towards it. Unlike proprietary software, where the vendor controls your code, upgrades and budgets -- with open source software, you control the upgrade process and can choose to decide which bugs to fix and when. Escape Vendor Lock-in Disappointment and dissatisfaction with a vendor's support and service is a reality for all IT managers. Inability to customize software to meet your requirements or support your needs, further increases the frustration. Open source gives you the freedom to choose your preferred vendor giving you the flexibility. Lower cost of ownership There are no license fees for an open source software, reducing annual license fees cost to zero. There is zero cost of scale, because open source doesn't require additional licenses as the installation grows.The only spends are towards the support for your software that ensure reliability and reduces running cost by at least 80%. Greater Security & Quality Open source software is available publicly. A large amount of developers globally contribute and analyze the code making it more secure and constantly increasing the quality. The peer review process drive excellence in design. Continuity It is possible that a proprietary software company shuts shop or decides to discontinue services for a software. With it goes the support and the future of the software. Open source software is not dependent on a single entity and gives users the advantage of the community. Any developer can choose to take up the software and continue from where it stopped.
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