Open Source – Keep It In Mind for Your Next Software Purchase But Be Careful

Cnet has written a VERY good and substantive article on the value and the cautions of using open source in business. Many businesses are increasingly turning to open source applications as a way to reduce the cost of licensing “main stream” applications. In addition they want to be able to rip apart the software and integrate it in their business processes as they wish. You can’t modify the software code of proprietary software (Microsoft Word for example) for your own needs.
I spoke about open source on Jim Blasingame’s radio show this morning.
Cnet warns that everything is not perfect with open source so customers must be cautious about using it and this caution is providing a new sales opportunity for open source vendors that provide the support and service one might be used to when buying software from a large vendor.
Cnet writes This shift is motivated by a web of frustrations shared by corporate buyers of licensed business software, whether purchased from major vendors such as SAP or Oracle or rented as a service from alternative vendors such as Companies are paying too much for complex products that they can’t fully control. They are then locked into that software provider for support or requests for additional functionality, which are often sizable and unplanned expenditures. And when previous versions of the program are no longer supported by the vendor, they have no choice but to upgrade at tremendous cost.
It’s the software industry’s version of planned obsolescence, or at least that’s what open-source business software providers would like prospective customers to believe. “Our customers don’t want to be held hostage by a particular vendor,” explains Steve Ciesinski, CEO of Laszlo Systems, a San Mateo, Calif.-based open-source software start-up developing rich media applications for the Web. “They don’t want to keep having to pay recurring license fees for underlying technology. That’s what our competition offers them.”