Open Source - 5 Big Reasons

15 Jan 2009

I was asked to write a few paragraphs for a client on why they should primarily chose open source software in the current state of our industry. In addition to a few articles supporting these positions, many have posited that we should even use government incentives to further boost OSS as a spark to re-ignite the industry. Leave your feedback on what your feelings are on OSS and I'll look into using some of the responses in my next presentation...

Open source is gaining momentum like never before in the most respected of institutions and enterprises. Originally, the choice to use open source was made only by smaller companies for strictly financial reasons. Those reasons still hold, but are now joined by a chorus of other great points in the current intellectual property, commercial vendor, and economic state that the business world is currently in.

Interoperability is strongest in the Open Source realm. Open Source enjoys the absence of financial motivations to close data inputs, and the existence of desire to have adopters join in and migrate from other open and closed platforms. You'll find that there are numerous import & migration tools for your existing data, and you'll discover that your data is stored in highly interoperable formats for future migration to any platform your business needs dictate.

Cost continues to be a factor leading towards Open Source in today's economic climate. Open Source wins every time on initial acquisition cost, but also on maintenance expenses over time. You can budget for well known project costs without yearly surprise increases in maintenance just because a commercial vendor raises renewal prices.

Quality is also a strong point of Open Source. This can be surprising to teams who think that well funded commercial products would have higher quality due to all the talent on such teams. But Open Source also sports excellent talent, as well as the hidden weapon of breadth of automated unit tests, constantly guarding the product's quality at each and every release.

In this uncertain economic climate, it can actually make more sense to know you perpetually have the full source code to your product. This removes the dangerous dependency on the continued solvency of a particular vendor. Open Source allows you to control and know your software destiny beyond any outside economic influences.

In sum, Open Source presents an attractive package in terms of cost, sustainability, and quality that are a perfect fit for the current business conditions of 2009 and beyond.