Open source software is among the most important technological innovations of the past 30 years. Everything from the Linux kernel (upon which numerous operating systems, including Android and Ubuntu, are based) to Hyperledger – a set of blockchain technologies for businesses – fits into the open source category, as does Drupal, one of the most popular content management systems (CMSes) across the web.
What makes something open source? The term is widely used, sometimes misleadingly. There are a few key requirements to look for in any project labeled "open source":
- Its source code must be fully public and potentially modifiable by any software developers contributing to it.
- It should be governed by a recognized open source license, spelling out the legal terms associated with its use.
- It should have an active community encouraging open exchange as well as rapid prototyping of new ideas to keep the project evolving.
While the freedom and flexibility of working on open source software makes it a favorite pastime for many computer programmers, these projects can be more abstract to SMBs and enterprises, which simply need something they can rely on from day to day. Accordingly, working with partners like Paramount is often the best way to reap the real benefits of open source software, such as:
Many forms open source software have numerous forks, i.e. specialized variants, tailored to specific use cases. The vast array of Linux-based OSes is the best known example, but the flexibility of open source is also apparent in platforms like Drupal. In setting up a Drupal CMS, organizations have no shortage of options for modules and plugins.
With the help of an experienced partner, these add-ons let you fine-tune a website just the way you want. You can leverage the literally tens of thousands of community contributions to Drupal to add search engine optimization, site analytics, e-commerce storefronts and much more.
Malware infections and other cyberattacks are risks every organization has to hedge against. Fortunately, using the right open source software can provide a much-needed boost to modern cybersecurity strategies.
How? After all, the fluidity of the open source process – with possibly many developers making a huge number of changes on a regular basis – would seem like a recipe for chaos and a steady flow of vulnerabilities.
However, the transparency of open source software can actually be a boon. With so many eyes constantly monitoring the code for flaws, issues can be identified and resolved early on, before an exploit is discovered in the wild and targeted by cybercriminals.
Proprietary software is one of the biggest cost center for IT organizations. According to Spiceworks, software as a whole is the second biggest component of all IT spending, behind only hardware.
Open source software is typically free of licensing fees, making it a great way to contain costs without compromising on functionality. In addition to the open source software in use in popular CMSes and blockchains, there are open source alternatives to office productivity suites, web servers and more. The fabled LAMP stack – consisting of Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP – is entirely built on open source technologies.
Maximizing the value of open source software for your organization
Open source can seem like a daunting domain at first, but chances are your organization already uses at least some software that has roots in a open source project. Collaborating with a partner like Paramount – with our deep expertise in data storage solutions, blockchain, Drupal and more – will ensure you get the most from open source technologies. Contact our team to get started.