6 questions to ask before switching to open source

As budgets continue to tighten, more businesses are turning to open source software. But is that the right option for your company?

Besides the cost advantage, open source applications can be modified to meet company needs. But not all open source projects are created equal.

Here are some questions you can ask to make sure an open source application is right for you and your users, according to TechRepublic.com:

  1. How active is the community? Take a look at discussion boards and the frequency of updates. That will give you an idea of how many people are developing the app and how quickly bugs get fixed.
  2. Can I buy support? One of commercial software’s biggest advantages is support and warranties. However, for the more popular open source projects, vendors offer those services. That may be a better option than relying on voluntary support from the open-source community.
  3. Are there regular security patches? Find out if the project has established practices for identifying vulnerabilities and fixing them.
  4. What kind of quality assurance process is there? Check the process being followed by developers for each release. If it’s not up to your standards, look somewhere else.
  5. How have other businesses used it? The best way to see if an open source project will work for you? Tap into the community and find a business similar to yours that has tried it.
  6. What do I want to do with the application? Open source licenses often require that any modification of the app is released under the same open license. That’s not an issue for in-house use, but it could be if you want to add open source elements to proprietary software.

Source: tinyurl.com/opensource296

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