by March 3, 2011 0 comments

Is it possible to run your business purely on open source software? If we look at it only from an applications availability standpoint, then yes, you can do it. There are open source applications available for just about every commercial application out there-whether it’s desktop productivity, network management, web servers and apps, security, or even business apps. There are open source apps available for all popular operating systems, be it various Linux distros, Windows, or Unix. But it’s obviously not practically feasible for an organization to suddenly rip and replace its entire infrastructure with open source alternatives (unless you’re a startup doing everything from scratch). You have to weigh your options carefully.

Choosing the right open source software requires the same level of evaluation as closed source alternatives. You have to define your business needs and map them to the best application that can handle them. You need to evaluate the technical feasibility and manpower availability to do the job. If you don’t have manpower with the requisite expertise in open source software, then you need to provision for it, train them, etc. The Central Electricity Authority for instance, built their entire information system on open source. For this, they didn’t have the in-house expertise on open source, and had to first train their manpower before the deployment.

Other costs associated with open source software include cost of support for the software, consultation charges for deployment, recruitment of fresh manpower with the relevant expertise, among others. You have to evaluate these costs against how much you’re likely to pay for the closed source options.

So that’s what our story is all about-provide the best options from the open source world that cater to various needs of a business. Just as the world of open source software has gone far beyond tools for IT infrastructure management, our story also goes beyond and looks at solutions that cater to some real business needs of organizations. Take databases for instance. Besides the fact that MySQL and PostgreSQL are the most popular open source databases, there’s another new cloud ready database called Cassandra, which is being used by the likes of Facebook (who created it), Twitter, etc. We’ve covered that in this issue.

Most online portals and websites are moving to proper CMS (Content Management System) platforms, and the open source world has some of the best ones out there. A lot of organizations are today finding it difficult to decide which open source CMS to move to. Hopefully, our article in this story will make things clearer for you.

ERP and CRM are two other areas where organizations have actively started considering open source software. In fact, some of the open source alternatives combine the functionality of both into a single package. We have a story that demystifies this area by comparing SugarCRM with vTiger, two of the most popular open source CRM software.

Then of course, we’ve also kept in mind the needs of system managers, security specialists, WAN managers, and IT managers. There are articles on how to convert a standard low cost router to do load balancing one for your WAN. We’ve talked about a solution that provides anti-virus, anti-spam, content filtering, and VPN all built into a single package called ClearOS. Besides these, there are lots of other examples of open source usage, case studies, and much more in this story.

Hopefully, you’ll find answers to some of your burning questions on open source software. If you don’t, then do refer our comprehensive online archive ( of open source software. Together they should provide you everything you need for using open source software in your organization. If you still don’t find what you need, then do write back to us and we’ll be more than happy to cover your specific areas of interest.

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