Ten Things You Need to Know About Open Source

Does open source code have a place in the business environment, where buttoned-down IT departments need to keep tight control over everything, software included? TechRepublic’s Jack Wallen makes a cautious case for open source in business, but his list of ten things you need to know demonstrates just how important it is to tread carefully. Some highlights:

It May or May Not Have Support
“Some open source software offers support options (sometimes with an associated cost) and some don’t. This is often a deal-breaker for larger companies. But even though a piece of open source software doesn’t have a corporate-friendly 24/7 support hotline to call, that doesn’t mean there is no support. Sometimes, there are forums and /or mailing lists for support. In other cases, the developers who created (or work with) the software can be contacted. Support options are certainly available — even if that support might not be compatible with the corporate train of thought.”

You Aren’t Breaking Any Laws by Adopting Open Source
“The use of open source software does not break any intellectual property laws. Nary a single case has proved that open source has infringed on other, proprietary work. So it’s safe to say that if you are using open source, you are not considered a rebel who is breakin’ the law.”

You Don’t Have To Be an Expert To Use It
“Many people still believe that open source software is for uber-geeks who can compile software in their sleep. Not so. In fact, with most open source projects, there’s no need to install from source now. Most platforms have binary installers that make adding open source software to your PC as easy as installing proprietary software. In some cases, it’s even easier.”

You’re Probably Already Using It
“Are you using the Firefox browser? If so, you are already using open source software. In fact, a lot of people use open source without knowing it. OpenOffice, Thunderbird, Pidgin, Drupal, WordPress, GnuCash, Notepad++, and many more products enjoy widespread usage.”

Source: TechRepublic

2 Responses to “Ten Things You Need to Know About Open Source”

  1. To anyone using OpenOffice, you *may* want to migrate from that to LibreOffice (or I think you could run both), b/c Oracle has decided to ditch commercial support and development for OO. Oracle continues to employ some of the in-house developers that work on the open source version, but it’s unknown how long that will continue. LibreOffice is a forked version of OO that is being independently developed by the open source community.