Open Source Options

September 2nd, 2015

Has your company explored the options available by adopting Open Source applications?

 

Today’s post is the SafeSourcing archives

In May’s 2014 Issue of Computerworld, the author, Howard Baldwin, makes a compelling case for the advantages of companies to use open source solutions in their business.  From business agility to improved quality and reliability the increasing adoption of open source technology has shown that its popularity will continue to grow.  Dictionary.com defines open source as “pertaining to or denoting software whose source code is available free of charge to the public to use, copy, modify, sublicense, or distribute,” so it is no wonder why this technology would be attractive.  Today’s blog will focus on some areas to keep at the forefront when evaluating open source applications.

Experience – Since there are dozens of new open source applications appearing every week, it is important to validate which companies have tools that will save a company as much time as they will money.  The only true way to uncover that is by digging into the companies that are currently using the technology and what they have to say about their experience.  New open source solutions without any major users aren’t necessarily solutions that should be automatically discounted but they are ones that will need to prove themselves even more during the Request For Information and Proposal stages.

Documentation – Open Source companies have been notorious for offering little to no useful documentation on how to implement and configure their solutions.  While this has gotten much better in the last ten years, it still has a long way to go to catch up with its mainstream “for resell” cousins’ polished user manuals.  Making it a condition of any Request For Information to review this documentation is critical.  Since these are freely available open source applications, this should easy and, in fact, evaluations of open source documentation can begin even sooner than an RFI might be issued.   Good documentation of the tool and the source code is key to evaluating how useful it will be for a company.

Evaluate the code – Besides the cost aspect of open source technology, it is the access to the source code behind the tool that makes open source such a popular concept.  Being able to use, manipulate and manage the custom changes needed is critical for most companies’ use of open source technology.  As mentioned above, because it is open source, the source code is generally available and ready for review any time an IT team is ready to evaluate it.  Verifying that code is annotated internally well and that its classes are also well-documented in external documentation is an important step in the decision to adopt it.

For more information on how SafeSourcing can assist you evaluating an open source solution or on our “Risk Free” trial program, please contact a SafeSourcing Customer Service Representative.  We have an entire customer services team waiting to assist you today.

We look forward to your comments.

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