What is Open Source?

The term „Open Source“ itself means the disclosure of the programming code. That fact allows developers to modify the software, to develop it and integrate it into existing systems.
Open Source Software is defined by the Open Source Initiative, which bases its evaluation on the Open Source Definition, which comes close to the definition of free software.

The software is mostly written and developed by a huge community, which has many advantages. For example, bugs in Open Source Software are often resolved much faster than in commercial software.

Open Source Software has to meet some criteria:

–        The source code of the software is available in a human readable and understandable form. Everyone should have the opportunity to understand the program structure and to adapt it to his own needs.

–        The software may be freely used, copied and distributed. Free does not necessarily mean that there are not payments involved – “free” really means that you are allowed to understand what the software does, how it operates, but it also means that you can change and most importantly simply run it. The number of users and installations is not limited.

–        The software may be modified and shared in the modified form.

Advantages of Open Source

Save your costs

Probably the best thing about Open Source Software is: It’s free! You don’t have to buy it and you don’t have to pay any license fees. All potential costs you have to mention are: IT-Infrastructure, customization, maintenance and support. You can do all of that on your own, but often it helps to have professional helping hands.

Be independent

With Open Source Software you will not depend on a software vendor and his pricing. The fact that there will be hundreds of programmers from all over the world working on the software, makes it future-proof and you don’t have to worry that a commercial company stops support for your product.

Flexibility

You need special features, made exactly for your business needs? It’s up to you, or any company doing support for you, to change and improve the Open Source code.

Quality and Safety

A huge community is working on Open Source Software. To make sure that everybody can understand the source code, it is usually written in a common programming language. Bugs and safety problems are quickly identified and resolved.

Compatibility

Open Source Software is working with open standards, so that the communication between IT systems causes fewer problems than with commercial products.

Open Source Solutions for business

You can find an Open Source solution for nearly every part of your business and office needs. Due to the variety of available software, we want to give you an overview on products we can recommend to you.

Operating System

Although the operating system Windows is used by a large majority in offices, Linux has become a viable and secure alternative. Especially the saving on license costs is a point in your business plan, which you should not ignore.
There are many free Linux distributions such as Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora (just to mention a few). With their graphical interfaces, they are easy to use and make it easy to switch from Windows.
Linux is often used in the public service, in government, in schools and universities, but can also be found more and more often in private companies.

http://www.debian.org/
http://www.ubuntu.com/
http://fedoraproject.org/

Office Software

Everyone is familiar with Microsoft Office. But there are also very good and widely used open source alternatives, such as Libre Office. Libre Office is the upgraded version of Open Office and offers all the features that we already know from Microsoft Office. Even the look and feel has been retained in order to simplify the use of the word processing, spreadsheet or presentation software.

http://www.libreoffice.org/

Website CMS

Most websites have been created with open source content management systems. Through their wide distribution, those solutions are very professional and perfect for nearly any purpose. The best known are Typo3, Joomla! and WordPress. You can make use of many (even free) templates and hundreds of plugins will make your programming life easy.

http://typo3.org/
http://www.joomla.org/
http://wordpress.com/

Account Management

Small and medium enterprises, which need an easy system for account and invoice management, should have an eye on OpenYabs. This is an open source billing and customer care system, which stores all of your customer, product and supplier information. It keeps the overview of all invoices and is easy to use. Also it works perfectly with your desired commercial or non-commercial office software. It is an ideal system for all companies that have outsourced the actual accounting and do not want to take care of the bookkeeping.

http://openyabs.org/

Customer Relation Management

A professional customer management is probably one of the most important tasks for any business. CRM systems allow departments, such as marketing or sales, to access a customer database with all relevant information. We are using SugarCrm, which is very common and comes with many cool features.

http://www.sugarcrm.com/

Database

Especially when it comes to the question which database you should use for your business, you will have to think carefully. A wrong decision can cost you a lot of money. Commercial databases such as Oracle will come with high licensing costs and additional costs for setup and support. So what are the alternatives? MySQL is very widespread, but belongs to Oracle since 2010. This is not the constellation anyone who wants to use open source software will be happy with. The same thing happens in the MSSQL and Microsoft world. You could use exotics such as mongoDB or MariaDB, but why not go for the best straight away? With PostgreSQL you will get the most powerful open source object-relational database system available You can set it up and work with it easily – and if you need help… you know, where you can find us!

http://www.postgresql.org/