What is open source software ?

Running a business is an extremely challenging, but rewarding activity. To make things easier, most business’s have some form of computerised information systems. These systems record information which is naturally created , emails, products, customers and financial transactions.

Once you have selected the software solution you require, you will most likely be sold a software license. This gives you the right to use the software and outlines the terms of use. Often this will involve a limit on the number of users. The software may even be sold based on yearly subscription fee. The functionality of the software is also affected by the license. Generally the more you pay for the license, the more functionality the software will have.

It can be hard at times to find the right license for your size business. You could face a large upgrade fee once your business reaches a certain size, and has outgrown the license. You may be forced to purchase a more expensive oversize solution to give you room to grow. Also bear in mind, software license violations can incur large fines or even a prison sentence.

An alternative licensing model is available. It is called open source or General Public License. This allows you to use the software, and you even get the blueprints so you can modify it .No expensive license fees, no restriction in functionality or number of computers. Open source software is free to buy, and you have increased freedom in how it is used.

This makes the software very solution focused rather than product focused, it’s all about getting the job done. However many people are suspicious of things that are free. Have no fear, although open source is free to get hold of, if you require professional installation and support this does have costs involved. However your overall costs could be greatly reduced. Even the Shadow Chancellor George Osborne, has pledged to save £600 Million of Taxpayers money by using open source software in government. Perhaps you could do the same .

After all, no can go to jail for installing open source software


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