In a world where Windows has become synonymous with PCs in the minds of the public, is there room for Open Source Operating Systems in your business? What many business leaders don’t realize is that even companies like Microsoft themselves are adopting Open Source technologies, mostly in a bid to tempt diehard Linux users to Microsoft. There’s many reasons that an Open Source operating system might be good for your business, however. Today we will take a look at a few of them.
Open Source IT infrastructure means that it is free, developed by passionate communities simply for the sake of making something that works well. This means you don’t find yourself tied into support that can only come from one vendor, reluctantly, during office hours. Many Open Source products have a plethora of support options, easily accessible at the click of a button. Think documentation, chat support, forums, wikis, and more.
Because the communities are so big, Open Source code often sees bugs repaired quickly, without the need for substantial investment. If you’d rather move away from DIY free support, there’s even low-cost paid support available on most Open Source software suites.
Closed Source companies have done a good job of convincing us they care about our data, but repeated leaks and breaches show the truth. In fact, the open nature of Open Source brings greater transparency to the table. Bugs, hacks, and exploits are identified in record time. It’s peer review on the same scale we see in science, and keeps people accountable in much the same way.
Just as companies taking advantage of free website hosting are no more vulnerable to security breaches than those who pay for their hosts, using an Open Source system can deliver faster security updates and less cybercrime vulnerability, not more by default.
One of the most appealing aspects of an Open Source system, of course, is that you don’t need to shell out a fortune to install it and account for ongoing upgrade costs. Plus, you don’t get locked in to a specific vendor, unable to move as you will to take advantage of new technologies because of the price of upgrading and hassle of migrating. Not so with Open Source products, which are kept fresh and up-to-date without a cent spent.
While not every company needs a product that can change and grow with them, many do. You may start off as a small office with no server and 5 users, but you may end up a multinational corporation running megaservers. As we mentioned above, migration costs, and the time cost of retraining users who are used to an older product, can be huge. This means that many companies stick with outdated software that no longer serves them well simply because they can’t afford to change.
Using an Open Source system brings greater flexibility to the table, allowing your software to grow with your company over time, and making it possible for you to introduce new products without the need for costly infrastructure overhauls.
This benefit builds on that of ‘flexibility’. Closed Source products get introduced and discontinued at the whim of the proprietary company, forcing you into the kind of upgrades and retraining we mentioned above whether you like it or not. With Open Source software, you have a greater continuity, and more focus on backward compatibility overall. While no program lives forever, this does reduce issues with planned obsolescence and short lifespans.
Did you know that almost all of the world’s supercomputers run on Linux? Linux, especially, has a reputation of running far faster than either Microsoft or Apple has managed over the years. Plus plug-ins and tools tend to contribute less bloatware than on proprietary systems. While this may not be a huge factor for you deciding to run OpenSource software in your business, a fast boot time and less bloatware are always well received by those working with the system daily.
Of course, you may be wondering why, if Open Source scores so well as a business solution, we don’t see more of it. The answer is simple, and has little to do with performance. Marketing has always been a compelling force for human purchases, and there’s no one marketing Linux the way there is Windows. However, it may (or may not, by now) surprise you to learn that over 69% of IT techs say some part of the infrastructure in their care is running Open Source products. There’s more of it around than you may think, quietly getting the job done.