When I first came across open source software I was amazed. I could hardly believe that good quality software could be made available for a minimal cost. Sure there could be issues with support and maintenance from time to time, but the flexibility and pure value for money equation was hard to beat.
My first real experience with open source was about 15 years ago implementing Norwegian CMS developers ezPublish. Not only was their content management system way ahead of most of the commercially available providers, it was built in a way that was collaborative and had a strong developer community around their various solutions. And – almost intuitively – they had built in community / social networking features which many other CMS platforms still struggle to deliver.
As I put the business case together, I remember laughing as I entered a software license line item. I knew it would generate questions – and sure enough I was called in to speak with the CFO. “Did I make a mistake in my costing?” I assured him that the figures were correct – but that there were trade-offs that came with open source.
Two years down the track, the software was still powering our corporate website and had transformed the way that we thought about the web, our customers and the distribution of our corporate information.
These days it seems that open source is a corporate norm – with 98% of enterprises using open source software in some form. As the folks from Source Ninja point out, it’s not just about lower acquisition costs – flexibility and abundance of code are vital elements when it comes to choosing open source software for business.
But the question for you is … does this ring true? Are you using open source in your business? Why?