Open Source Software (2)

Written by Ed Beckmann Tuesday, 23 October 2012 02:56

Short summary of benefits of Open Source

principle which means that …
open source software has its code accessible so that if you have the right skills you can modify it you can make improvements whenever you want to, unlike proprietary software which you cannot change or fix;

you also benefit from loads of good ideas that other people have

it is usually available free of charge (providing you do not then make a charge for using it) anyone can benefit from it. Examples are the firefox web browser and apache server (which runs over half the websites in the world)
there is a wealth of support from other users when people come up with an improvement, they normally give it to everyone else;

if you have a problem, you can normally get free advice very quickly

it is designed very much for the job it has to do, with no commercial compromises or restrictions on its performance it will often work very well on older and lower power equipment than current models. So your infrastructure needs replacing far less often
the operating systems for both servers and desktop computers are more secure by design so are far less prone to virus attack you have no expense on virus software, less danger of down-time and everything runs faster (because it is doing the job, not fighting viruses)
it is designed very much for function, whilst still being simple to maintain and use it can sometimes look less slick than proprietary offerings because of the extra cost in making it look good in addition to simply working well

We have a policy of favouring open source software because of the principle of community ownership, the flexibility of adding any improvements we want and the economy of long hardware life and zero licence fees. Any business that is unaware of the potential savings is making decisions without knowing all of the options.

We are still a commercial business, so if a piece of proprietary software is the best tool for the job, we will use it!

Open Source Software We Use

ubuntu for our desktop and server environment. It is secure, simple to load and maintain, widely used with huge and helpful free help forums, runs quickly even on our oldest PC (7 years old). It just lets us get on with the job
open office as our key office suite, containing word processor, spreadsheet, presentation package and database
thunderbird and lightning for our emails and calendaring. It copes with updating all manner of computers and PDAs
Mozilla firefox and google chrome for our main web browsers. They follow the rules of the web so the pages display consistently as the web designed them to
gimp the graphic design package for creating our images or manipulating photographs
gnucash for running our accounts
moodle our wonderful learning platform
dropbox for keeping files up-to-date and where they need to be
apache and mysql servers for running our websites and databases
ganttproj for our basic project management needs
redmine for managing our IT job tracking system