OSS is recognized as the future of software for IT infrastructure and applications
Open source software (OSS) was dismissed not so long ago as the ugly grandson of enterprise software packages. Many executives saw OSS as a cheap, unreliable, and problematic alternative to proprietary software licenses from major software vendors such as IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, and SAP.
Today, OSS is widely installed, accepted, and recognized as the future of software for IT infrastructure and applications. Even major vendors of proprietary software packages have embarked on coexistence with OSS and offer related services.
OSS allows licensees to run, modify, and copy source code without license fees. Often free software can also be redistributed by licensees if they wish. Well-known OSS examples include linux, ERPNext Cloudand a considerable amount of software from the Apache Software Foundationlike Hadoop, HTTP Server and Spark.
In the past, affordability was the primary reason for deploying OSS. Today, the benefits of OSS extend much further by supporting the following:
- Faster time to market for new concepts and capabilities.
- Innovation in products and services.
- Digital transformation of organizations.
These benefits of OSS have led to widespread and growing adoption.
OSS operates a capable software development community
A talented community committed to software quality and continuous improvement generally improves and maintains the OSS. Often the community consists of unpaid but experienced individuals. Some licensees support the community by allowing their paid staff to dedicate a portion of their time to open source community work.
When the community is large enough and active enough, its software production and quality is superior to that of the staff of proprietary software vendors. The proprietary software vendor’s net revenue limits the size of the vendor’s development and support staff.
This community aspect of OSS can lead to the faster introduction of new concepts and capabilities with fewer flaws than is possible with proprietary software.
OSS offers freedom
OSS licenses provide the licensee with the source code of the software. Access to the source code allows the licensee to modify the software. This freedom to do whatever you want with the software provides the following benefits:
- More responsive to changing business needs.
- Faster resolution of software faults.
- Planning for a migration to a newer version of software is determined by your organization and not mandated by the vendor.
Proprietary software publishers provide the licensee with the object code of the software package. The object code limits the licensee by:
- Prevent Licensee from making any modifications to the Software.
- Create a dependency on the software vendor’s support infrastructure.
- Create dependency on new feature definition and software vendor release schedule.
Organizations can use the freedom of OSS to pursue innovation in products and services.
OSS advances digital transformation
To take significant steps on the path to digital transformation, organizations need plenty of software to enable maximum automation and business process improvement. Examples include software components for:
- Software Defined Computing Infrastructure (SDI).
- Development Operations (DevOps) as no organization can rely entirely on software packages.
- A hybrid cloud based on OpenStack or an alternative.
- A more sophisticated suite of applications.
All of these software are available from various OSS communities. It is not conceivable that an organization could acquire and maintain all of this software from proprietary software vendors plus in-house DevOps.
Instead, organizations can use this wide variety of OSS to further their digital transformation.
OSS avoids software vendor lock-in
Operating the OSS provides the licensee with considerable choice of maintenance and support strategies such as:
- Subcontracting to one of many competing suppliers.
- Insourcing to a maintenance and support team.
Proprietary software packages lock the licensee into the software vendor. This lock-in is often not an issue when the initial deal is made. However, over time, the following software vendor issues may create problems for the licensee:
- Deterioration in the quality of service.
- A change in vendor strategy that reduces or stops investment in the software package.
- The vendor being acquired by another company which produces a change in focus that negatively affects the software package.
OSS offers zero software license fees
Often the initial reason for deploying OSS is the lack of software licensing costs. Obtaining a license for a proprietary software package requires the payment of a significant license fee.
Additionally, OSS licenses generally cover an unlimited number of end users, while fees for proprietary software packages increase with the number of end users.
The absence of software licensing costs allows organizations to focus their resources on innovation and digital transformation.
Yogi Schulz has over 40 years of experience in information technology in various industries. Yogi works a lot in the oil industry. He manages projects that arise from changing business needs, the need to take advantage of technological opportunities and mergers. His specialties include IT strategy, web strategy and project management.
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