Business Considerations for Open Source Systems

Open Source - Open source software is defined as a broad, general type of software license that allows the source code for the software to be available to the general public with relaxed or non-existent copyright restrictions. However, there are rules and structure applied to open source programming as detailed in the definition of open source by OpenSource.Org which dictates that standards are applied, documentation is supported, and that the integrity of the application will be maintained.


Business Models - There are various perceived and realistic pros and cons to adopting open source platforms for business applications, including:

  • Cons: Some of the deterrents to opens source include:
    • Uncertainty - There are uncertainty factors regarding the stability and viability (somewhat bolstered by the competition) regarding open source applications.
    • Compatibility - There is a prevalent concern that open source systems may not be compatible with proprietary applications or even within the open source community.
    • Controllable - Being able to manage and control software policies and version control is critical in maintaining system up-time. Despite the availability of open source controlling applications, the popular consensus is that open source equals open controls.
  • Pros: Some of the benefits to opens source include:
    • Flexibility - Users (who ultimately decide the success or failure of any ERP implementation) desire flexibility in their work applications. As customization is critical with any application, why not customize with open source as these applications are built with flexible customization from the start. There are various examples, including governmental, technology centric, and business-related successful implementations.
    • Support - As Information Technology systems designed, built, and maintained by and for Information Technology people (rather than commercial interests) there are overwhelming resources, including technologists, entrepreneurs, and software systems available to provide support.
    • Security - Open source systems tout an array of security capabilities, from security systems, documentation, and user groups.
    • Cost - It's free.

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