Open – Source Software Background

Commercial and custom build applications ruled the globe, before the concept of open-source came into existence. This brought together a whole new philosophy in application development.

[newline] [slogan]Open Source refers to anything where the design is freely available for anyone to use. The usage can be either to modify it to meet individual needs or to contribute towards improvement via a collaborative effort. An extension to this is of course the open-source software where the source code of the application is available publicly and hence can be enhanced. [/slogan]

Open Source Versus Commercial and Custom built Applications

An easy guess is of course that Open-source applications are real value for money as compared to commercial and custom build application. However there is more to this. [newline]

Commercial applications are well supported but licensed applications where the source code is not freely available and hence you need to pay to procure and customized the solution via the product company itself or a partner thereof.

Custom applications are developed in-house or via a third party where the support levels totally dependent on service level agreements signed. Usually custom applications die a natural death when the design becomes inflexible for ongoing usage, vendor loses skill-set or support levels die down. In this case you are totally dependent on third party provider and there is a considerable vendor lock-in.[newline]

 Read White Paper on how to balance Quality Versus Vendor Lock- In 

Open source applications combine the benefits of commercial and custom applications. Whereas you don’t pay product fees or license cost, you enjoy liberty to select any provider who is associated with the product. The life cycle of a open source application is defined by the ecosystem around it (usually thousands of developers) and hence is far long lasting than a custom built solution.

The Top Open-source applications of all time

Following are the top open source applications of all time in our opinion. They have really changed and shaped the software field that we are in. [newline]

logo - linuxLinux – This is the mother of all open source software. It has been deployed on more hardware than other operating system. Even today, you may opt Linux or one of its flavors in your server as it gives you a robust and secure environment to deploy your application.

logo - open officeOpen Office – This is an alternate to Microsoft office and you can save money by running on Open Office especially if you are a small to medium business or an education institute where you have many computers.

logo alfrescoAlfresco – Afresco brings a world class document management solution for your enterprise and helps your employees collaborate and exchange information is a secure and efficient manner.

logo  magentoMagento – This is one of the most popular e-commerce solutions on the planet. It is feature rich and has strong SEO affect which brings traffic on your online store. Thousands of themes and extensions make it one of the most popular open source software. Magento also has commercial version of the application.

logo sugarcrmSugarCRM – One of the top customer relationship management solutions growing at over 50% year on year and already has over a million users. Read about SugarCRM’s growth Story.

Open Source – Tips

Open source leads to multiple opportunities for your business to save cost and grow efficient. However if you are looking at implementing open-source at your organization, you must always see to it that (i) The application that you want to use is matured and at least in its 3rd version. (ii) See the number of downloads and developer base and check whether they are compare to the ecosystem of applications stated above.