Open Source

Open Source or Not?

Open Source has always been a common choice for startups, universities, scientists and other individuals or entities that are on a limited budget, but where there’s considerable technical expertise to play around with code and customize projects. Open source software has an advantage in that it isn’t as costly as the proprietary products being merchandised by big-name vendors. However, you’ll need to be patient enough so that you can develop knowledge of its coding tricks, as well as master its quirks. This probably explains why open source products are rarely used in mission-critical environments and applications where security is critical. Nonetheless, if you’re considering whether to go open source or not, the following highlights provide an appropriate guideline.

Your Biggest Application Issues

Think about what’s the biggest issue in your business or line of work. Is it security? Are you dealing with sensitive information or just mere pieces of data that wouldn’t be valuable to potential hackers? Some time ago, most open source solutions used to be less secure, but things have changed nowadays. Think about the key needs in your firm before you evaluate the suitability of various software pieces.

Can you Handle the Cost

Cost happens to be the biggest motivation behind open source software. If you are a startup or struggling business that’s trying to cut down costs, you may want to consider using programs that will just help with that. Using money wisely is a core determiner of business success.

Need for Support

Sometimes, business-class support is available for open source software, mostly for the organization leading the project, or an interested third party. Think about whether you’ll be needing this kind of support, and whether the open source program you have in sight does offer it. Otherwise, you might just be better off with the well-supported proprietary software.

Your Hardware

Many types of electronic hardware require particular drivers to work. These are usually closed and available from equipment manufacturers. Are these drivers available for the open source program that you want to use? If so, do they work just well? This should, for obvious reasons, be a major consideration.

Vendor Reliability

When buying proprietary software, you might not be sure that the vendor will stick after a couple of years. What if they lose interest in the venture and drop it altogether? What if the business makes a loss and closes its doors without warning? The same case applies when procuring open source alternatives. You want to do your background research to make sure that you’re getting your software that has been there for quite some time – and that’s likely to be there in the future.

De Facto Standard

So you want to use a data processing program that’s open source? Well, if all the other people that you collaborate with do not recognize, use or know how to use this program, you might be up for a rocky ride. If a specific software-name is the De Facto standard in the industry, you might just be better off using it. There’s a massive difference in both proprietary and open source software when it comes to performance, user interface, APIs for integration and plugins.

These crucial considerations will help you make the right choice regarding whether to or not to opt for open source software.