Open Source Administration and Technical Support
A majority of your IT costs pertain to software purchases, support and licensing fees. What if there was a better option? A free option?
What is Open Source Software?
If a software product is Open Source Software (OSS), then its source code is freely available to anyone. Users of OSS are free to take the Open Source Software code, modify it, and even re-distribute their own version of it. Anyone can use the software for any purpose without licensing fees. Open Source licensing is best described on the Open Source Initiative Website.
For over 20 years the Open Source Initiative (OSI) has worked to raise awareness and adoption of Open Source Software and to build bridges between the many Open Source communities. OSI is a global non-profit organization and promotes software freedom in society through education, collaboration, and infrastructure. The OSI is the watchdog for preventing abuse of to the Open Source movement.
Open Source Software is created by many people and distributed under an Open Source Definition (OSD) compliant license which grants all the rights to use, study, change and share the software in modified and unmodified form. Software freedom is essential to enabling community development of Open Source Software.
Products released to the Open Source community are free with no licensing or support costs.
How we help you with Open Source Software:
- We can help you select the right Open Source Software solution for your environment.
- We can help you install, customize and integrate your Open Source Software.
- We can provide ongoing support for your Open Source Software through on demand remote or onsite support.
We will not haphazardly recommend an Open Source solution without first thoroughly understanding your business. We are entrepreneurs and we understand how to identify inefficient tasks and streamline your operation using proven technology.
As you can probably tell, we are Pro-Open Source and that’s why we are not associated or partnered with any hardware or software vendor. We don’t want you to spend more money on your infrastructure, we want you to get better utilization from what you already own. Unlike many IT firms, we do not make a commission off your software or hardware purchases and that keeps us 100% unbiased. We will only recommend what we know is the best product and we will be there through its implementation. Lastly, we will always be available to help you maintain that product whenever you need us.
Why use Open Source Software?
Open Source Software is free with no maintenance or support fees and can significantly reduce your IT operating costs. Secondly, if you don’t like something about it, unlike proprietary software such as Microsoft Office, an Open Source product can be changed and that’s where our programmers can help you out.
How stable is Open Source Software?
Open Source Software is well supported by a huge and tight community who love what they do and are motivated by peer recognition. This community develops products to meet industry demands. All products are thoroughly tested and refined by this community, which holds everything they do to a strict quality standard. Unlike proprietary software products, products developed in the Open Source community are not restricted by budgetary or marketing constraints, only that they meet the strict quality standard defined by the community of industry experts. This guarantees a high quality product with absolutely no marketing or data mining ploys. The goal is for Open Source products to get distributed for free by as many users as possible, and the more an Open Source product gets distributed, the better it gets.
Sharing a product in the Open Source community is both an exciting and rewarding experience. For many experts, the praise they receive from a community of peers is even more rewarding than financial gain.
Problems and security glitches are often fixed within hours vs. commercial products which must go through a long development cycle before problems are addressed. We all know how large business bureaucracy works; we don’t have that in the Open Source community. Many times, the Open Source products drive what gets put into the commercial proprietary products and most times, the best enhancements are made in the Open Source products first, before they make it to the commercial proprietary products. For example, the RedHat operating system, the core OS Apple’s OS X and iOS was built from Open Source.
A few great examples of Open Source products are the Linux Operating System, Apache Web Server, MySQL, Firefox, WordPress, LibreOffice, PHP and OpenSSH. These products are used by nearly every large corporation, government and educational institution because they’re free, flexible and very stable.
How secure is Open Source Software?
In addition to what is stated in the previous paragraph, Open Source products are more stable and secure because bugs are identified and fixed quickly. Where there is less bureaucracy, there is more efficiency and that is a major advantage of Open Source Software.
Open Source Software is more reliable. Due to its public availability, the Open Source approach significantly increases the number of people checking the software for bugs and vulnerabilities and quickly fixing them.
Vendor proprietary software often includes “bloatware,” which is unwanted software that benefits the vendor only and is used solely for marketing purposes, data mining and future product development. This bloatware includes programs that infringe your privacy and sometimes even contains malware. This bloatware slows the products down and even provides the vendor with sensitive data about the user. Vendors tell us this bloatware is for our benefit, yet many times we cannot turn it off.
Think about it, how many software vulnerabilities have you heard of this past year and how many were Open Source vs. Microsoft or Adobe?
How much better can Open Source Software really be?
The cost does not reflect the quality of the product, although many vendors would like us to think so. Proprietary software has the advantage of a huge marketing budget and Open Source products simply do not. Therefore, the money wins the battle for more users, but that doesn’t mean the product is better. Just look at the track record of success in Open Source products such as the Linux Operating System, Apache Web Server, MySQL, Firefox, WordPress, LibreOffice, PHP and OpenSSH.
What if I have a problem with my Open Source Software?
With the presence of a great support community, you are not tied to a single vendor for support. Your options are endless for ongoing support and development. You are at the right place, but in the rare circumstance we cannot help you, we are tight with the Open Source community and we promise to find someone who can.
You’ll find members of the Open Source community to be friendly and helpful. We all want to promote the OSS and make the user experience great for everyone.
Is it legal to use and customize Open Source products?
Open-source license, also known as GNU General Public License or GPL which has been in existence since 1984, allows open-source software users to copy, distribute, or modify the source code, and publicly distribute derived works based on the source code. In other words, no one owns the product. The original author(s) of the Open Source product expects that others will use, modify, and share the work.
As GNU project founder, Richard Stallman said of free software, it’s “a matter of liberty, not price.” Open Source is, above all, about the unhindered liberty to create. The innovation and creativity demonstrated in Open Source business models is a testimony to the ideals of Open Source.
When a product is released as Open Source, the community of developers commits to Sharing their creative work and to adhere to the policy defined by the Open Source Initiative. Please visit the Open Source Initiative website to read their FAQ and a complete definition of the OSS licensing terms.
Who is using Open Source Software?
A recent Open Source survey conducted by the Linux Foundation found that:
- More than 53 percent off all industries say their organization has an Open Source Software program or has plans to establish one. Most businesses who don’t use Open Source, simply didn’t know it existed before they were surveyed.
- Large companies (Forbes Global 200) are about twice as likely to run an Open Source program than smaller companies (63 percent vs. 37 percent). It’s estimated that the number of large companies with Open Source programs will triple by 2020
To see a list of businesses who support the Open Source community and are currently using Open Source programs, check out the list which includes Microsoft, FaceBook, Google, NetFlix, Intel, VMWare and IBM as well as the United States Government.
Which Open Source products would benefit you?
That’s why we are here to help. We’ve been involved in the selection, implementation and use of Open Source products since the 1980s. Here are just a few alternative Open Source products that we think are worth exploring and of course, we support all of these and hundreds more:
- Linux including Ubuntu, SuSe, CentOS, Fedora, Oracle Linux, RedHat, Debian, BSD as an alternative to Microsoft Server and Windows
- OpenLDAP, FreeIPA, Samba, or Apache Directory as an alternative to Microsoft Active Directory
- FreeNAS or Synology (the Synology OS is based on Open Source) for Network Storage Solution
- LibreOffice, OpenOffice and FreeOffice as an alternative to Microsoft Office
- OpenVPN and PfSense a full featured VPN service and firewall and alternative to Cisco’s Meraki, Sonicwall, Check Point, etc
- GIMP as an alternative to PhotoShop
- Inkscape as an alternative to Adobe Illustrator
- KVM as an alternative to VMware and Microsoft’s Hyper-V
- VirtualBox as an alternative to VmWare
- DaVinci as an alternative to Camtasia for video editing
- FrontAccounting or GnuCash as an alternative to QuickBooks
- FreeCAD or BRL-CAD as an alternative to AutoCad
- MySQL as an alternative to Microsoft SQL
- Dia, GIMP, Inkscape as an alternative to Microsoft Visio
- PDFCreator as an alternative to Adobe Acrobat