Even as recently as ten years ago, open source software was considered to be somewhat of a niche part of the IT industry, but that has changed in recent years. Today, instead of fear, uncertainty and doubt surrounding open source software, there are many open source platforms that are universally accepted – or even preferred over their proprietary counterparts.
Open source software such as Apache for servers, or Android for mobile devices, plays an important role in the day-to-day running of the average business. There was a time when proprietary software vendors could deter people from using such software by highlighting the lack of features, relative immaturity of the software and lack of support. Today, however, the open source community has come together to address those concerns, and open source software is a viable alternative for many businesses.
Free and Open Source: What Is the Difference?
One thing that we often remind people of at Livingstone is that not all open source software is free, and not all free software is open source. This is something that you must understand when you are using software asset management tools. Sometimes you may use proprietary freeware software, which can be installed and run for free but not modified. Sometimes you may pay for open source software – you are paying for customisations, support and a service level agreement. However, even with these payments, open source software is often far cheaper than the closed source equivalents.
If your SAM, IT asset management or software license management policy has highlighted that your budget is running short, then using free and open source tools such as Libre Office, MySQL Eclipse or Apache could save you a lot of money compared to their commercial alternatives. You may even decide that using an open source content management system is a better option than paying for a proprietary system for your website. The risk that you will face there is that the subscription to the proprietary system may come with support, while the free version does not offer such a luxury, so you will be dependent on the community for support. However, it is relatively easy to find skilled developers who work with WordPress, Joomla and OS Commerce, because the barriers to entry are so low that there are a lot of people taking the time to skill themselves up on those platforms.
Open source software is generally secure, fast and stable, and while there will be some training burden while you move staff over from your existing platform to an open source solution, the total cost of ownership should be lower. Run some tests and predictions using software asset management tools, and see whether the move would make commercial sense for your business.
About the Author:
Livingstone provide an end-to-end software asset management solution for organisations looking to gain complete visibility and control over their software licensing spend.
Combining their unique approach, accurate inventory and entitlement data with experienced Software Asset Management (SAM) specialists, they understand their client’s software licensing needs and goals. They arm their specialists with vendor agnostic Livingstone technology to provide real time licensing transparency and control.