Earlier it was uncommon to use the open source software in business especially in the big business firms because most of the business professionals believe that it was not so user friendly and also uneasy to handle it. Most of the software used to have some specific commands and it was awful to learn all the commands of different open source software for a single person. There was lots of wastage of timing and energy to understand it. However, it was considered more secure than other commercial software.
But, now the time has been changed and now business enterprises are using open source software frequently; the trend to adopting the OS (Open Source) software is also increasing gradually. The reasons behind it are very strong like: it is easily available at free of cost and does not require any licence. The users can use it according to their requirements without negotiating the numbers of personal computers in a network.
In terms of security, it is superb. But, why is it not so popular as against popular commercial software. But before going in the deep, let’s assess about the beginning.
What is Open Source Software (OSS)?
The term Open Source Software (OSS) refers to those software that come under the General Public License, which is defined by the Open Source Initiative (OSI) and freely available to use for the customers and for the business firms. The OSS is open sources till then it is available under an OSI approved license.
For acquiring the OSS, it is not mandatory to be only a non-profitable organisation, neither any liability implies on the licensor or licensee.
How does it develop?
Now, the question arises, if it is freely available for all, how does it get resources and fund for developing, as it needs huge resources and money. The answer is simple; the giant corporate firms allocate massive funding for developing any software. The funding companies also get positive opinion for their charity.
Difference between Open Source software and Mainstream software
The open source software has been less targeted from the hackers because of having less common in use, but mainstream software are always on the hacker’s target and most of the times it have been hacked if proper security setting has not been applied on the network and on the system.
On the other hand, the algorithm of open source software is far different and mostly OSS is java-based application and it provides a very strong security for the users. But the basic difference is: how it can be handled and operate as every distribution of open source software has unique code and hard to handle like mainstream software. However, in the help and open source license section it is mentioned the proper process of handling the software and user need to spent some time to make it handy.
But in the small budget, it is the best option for the firms due to having similar, some times more facilities then mainstream software.
Open Source Case for Business
The business and corporate world is adopting the open-source model because of having open standards as actual software, increased security and ready to customize according to business in just making few changes. The reliability, performing speed and productivity are the most positive things that lead the firms to adopt it.
The myth about the open source software
The companies hesitate to adopt the open source software because of several myths including lack of formal support and training, the low speed of transformation and deficiency of long-term plans as it is not announced earlier but are announced after evolving the mainstream software. It is also a myth that OSS that comes under open source licenses are viral, but in realty neither all OSS licence are viral nor have lack of long-term roadmap. On the other hand, despite of available for free, some times it produces more money than mainstream commercial software by customizing the software according to the company’s requirements.
Usually the business model of the firms reside open source software that provide a whole product generally including support, commercial licenses, professional services, training, certification, partner programs, references and use cases. This whole product enhances the reliability and security of the software.
There are numerous business models around professional open source software (POSS) including Pentaho, MySQL, Alfresco, JBoss, Digium, Zimbra etc.
Why OSS is suitable for your business and why not?
Software and updates can be obtained at free of cost or nominal cost; no royalties of license fees.
Software can be customized to business needs
Several distributors are available; so no dependency of one or two software providers
No lock in is available in software support means software support contracts
Developers upgrade software and documentation from the back of charity funding
Better security. Open source model are more complex and rarely can be debugged from one two or small groups of programmers. It needs highly proficient team to debug the codes of open source software. Extremely reduced chances of virus.
Developed in open standards that are being more popular
It allows to participate larger community and more users can use it simultaneously.
The Challenges of Open Source Software
Generally open source tools are made for the programmers, so for the ordinary users it is not user friendly and therefore have a heavy learning curve.
Despite of free distribution, it needs ask some charges in configuration and support, while generally users think it never ask for money.
Sharing files with proprietary applications can be difficult. This is a serious problem in the area of desktop applications such as word processing, it means simple documents can be easily exchanged into MS Office from OpenOffice.org, but the exchange of more documents using advanced formatting and layout creates more complex problems.
Despite of having few drawbacks, it is fruitful for the companies having low budget for the software.
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