Open Source for your business - Frequent Questions
Open source is everywhere, whether or not you are aware you of it you most likely used more open source software today than closed source software. For years we have been discussing and educating folks on the merits of leveraging open systems to achieve their business goals. There is a pattern in how folks new to the topic approach their questions.
Let's address some of these popular questions in this post:
If all the code is available isn’t it less secure?
When deploying business systems, security is important. No matter how big or small, the security of your business information is critical. When software systems are open everyone can inspect, critique, and improve how the software works. That does not mean your data is open! There is no way to say that open systems are “more secure” than closed systems BUT we can say with confidence that it is easier to inspect and verify (either yourself or through a service provider) that the code is secure and not doing anything funny with your data.
How do you make money with open source, isn’t it free?
Sure free and open source software (aka FOSS) is available on the internet for all to use but that doesn’t mean as a business owner fully taking advantage of any given project will come natural to you, nor should it, you have a business to run after all! That is where service providers, like Sego, come in to provide expert services around these popular open source projects. What does this mean to you? Well instead of paying for large licensing fees, which are basically a fee to get the possession of the software and then consulting fees… you have the opportunity to save on the licence costs. On the other end if you do have the expertise to leverage the open systems for your needs then you are able to experience some very attractive savings with the investment of your (or your staffs) time.
If everyone has access to this software how do I differentiate my business by using it?
This is where it gets interesting! Being that open source software allows you to modify the source you can mold the system to your exacting needs. This is powerful, especially when working with projects like Drupal which are are architected in a way that fosters modifications without forking the entire project. This way you can differentiate as much as possible while still taking advantage of the larger communities work in the core project, in other words you can still upgrade easily even after your custom functionality is implemented!
Ok so if I make improvements that aren’t specific to my business why would I give this away for free?
For many open source advocates this is point can get contentious and come off as obvious but let's face it, not everyone gets it. Quite simply by participating in the community you are ensuring the future vitality of the project you rely on for your business. Without folks openly contributing to the software and the surrounding parts then the project will be dead. It is not money directly that powers these projects, its talented, passionate people.
Free and open source software is everywhere from the software that serves our web applications to the web applications themselves. By participating in the open source ecosystem you are contributing to a world which gives you the freedom to differentiate your business and at the same time leverage a broader community to collectively build stronger solutions for us all.
Very interesting and exciting times we live in today! If you have any feedback or additional questions hit us up in the comments below...