Whenever new software is introduced, one is faced with a fundamental question: Open Source or commercial software? The decision for the appropriate software usually has long-term implications and should therefore be considered carefully. We show why making a decision for Open Source software is a good choice in many cases.


Definition: What is Open Source?

Open Source software means that the source code of the software is publicly and freely available, that is, can be viewed, modified and used by third parties. Open Source does not mean it’s free, but many Open Source technologies are available free of charge, in some cases Enterprise versions with extended features and support are offered.

The Open Source principle is widespread, well-known examples of Open Source software are Linux, Apache, LibreOffice, Mozilla Firefox or Android. Large companies such as Sun, Oracle, Google and Novell support Open Source projects, which mainly subsist on the community of a large number of developers as well as smaller companies. For example, AOE has frequently contributed to the continued development of Open Source projects such as Magento or TYPO3; many of our developers work on the development of Open Source projects in their free time or during conference hackathons.

It’s an open-source world: ​78 percent of companies run open-source software. The good news is that open-source software is used in the vast majority of businesses. The bad news is that far less do even a half-way decent job of managing it.
ZDNet Article
Open Source Survey by Black Duck Software and North Bridge
zd.net/1IPt7hu

Strategic Reasons for Open Source

There are numerous valid reasons to use Open Source software. An Open Source survey found the most important reasons for implementing Open Source software. In addition to costs and independence from software vendors (vendor lock-in), the high-quality software, competitive features and technical capabilities as well as adaptability are important features of Open Source software .

Adaptability: Standard vs. Custom

Commercial software programs and solutions are proprietary developments of the respective provider, the source code is only accessible to the vendor. Expensive consultant teams are necessary for software integration and function extensions. If the manufacturer has no capacity or demand for a feature, it can’t be developed at all or only at very high costs.

With Open Source software, the source code of the software is publicly accessible. This allows users a high degree of flexibility and individual adaptations. The use of functional extensions are possible independently or with the help of IT service providers.

Commercial Software: 

  • Feature extensions dependent on manufacturer
  • Features dependent on supply and demand
  • Independent development not possible

Open Source Software:

  • Individual adaption possible
  • Feature extensions can be developed
  • IT service providers can be freely selected

Independence vs. Vendor Lock-in


Commercial Software:

  • High license fees
  • Cost-intensive integration and customization
  • Vendor lock-in commits companies in the long-term

Open Source Software:

  • Free software, no integrations or consultant costs
  • Integration and development through IT service provider
  • Independence from manufacturers and service providers

The use of commercial software binds companies to the software manufacturer in the long term. Vendor lock-in makes changing to alternative offers more difficult for customers due to high exchange costs, ownership of data or technical barriers.

With Open Source software, license fees are often only charged for enterprise use. Integration, adaptation and further development can be carried out by internal teams or freely selectable IT service providers, companies are not committed to individual manufacturers or service providers.

Open Source = High Software Quality

With Enterprise Open Source software, users are provided with solutions that offer a variety of benefits: high-quality source code, stability, high performance, and a high level of security. Global communities ensure further development and promote a high level of innovation. Security gaps are quickly discovered and closed. In addition, Opens Source projects often have a much shorter time-to-market than commercial software solutions, thanks to the large community.

  • Secure
  • Scalable
  • High-quality
  • Innovative
  • Transparent
  • Future-proof

Benefits of Open Source Software

Open Standards

Compatibility with other software solutions and IT systems

Costs & License Fees

Lower license fees, development in-house or by freely choosable IT service providers

Quality & Reliability

According to surveys, Open Source stands for proven, reliable and high-quality software

Independence

No vendor lock-in, no long-term commitment to manufacturers or IT service providers

Flexibility & Adaptability

Open Source software can be customized to meet individual needs

Transparency

Open source code ensures maximum transparency and trust in the software

Stability & Performance

Stable and tested technologies with high performance

Security

High security standards, security gaps are closed more rapidly

Innovation & Development

Fast and continuous development of the software by the community

Kian Gould
There are a number of valid arguments for using Open Source software, especially the large degree of freedom in implementing and creating the software. Here, one should equate the meaning of “free” with “freedom”, not “free beer”.
Kian Gould
CEO and Founder
AOE

Open Source vs Commercial Software

Open Source + IT Service Provider = Success

Software requirements are to be assessed individually in each case – there are many good reasons for the use of Open Source software. Possible advantages when using closed source software, such as further development or support – which usually only applies to proprietary software – can be converted into a great advantage for Open Source through cooperation with a competent IT service provider. Companies that have the appropriate software and excellent IT resources are in the perfect position to create an optimal digital future. 

IT service providers or internal IT teams can take over individual customization, development and support, and are not limited to one software. In selecting an IT partner, it is advisable not only to pay attention to the technical competence, but also to consider the methodology of project management and implementation, change management qualities as well as the culture and the mindset of the IT service provider.

AOE: Open Source Vendor & agile Technology Provider

AOE ist ein auf digitale Enterprise-Projekte spezialisierter agiler IT- und Technologie-Dienstleister. Bei der Entwicklung innovativer digitaler Lösungen setzen wir ausschließlich auf den Einsatz von bewährter Open Source Software. Um den Anforderungen von Enterprise-Projekten gerecht zu werden schaffen wir mit agilen Methoden die optimalen Rahmenbedingungen, um zu einem frühestmöglichen Zeitpunkt funktionierende Software zu liefern und schnell und flexibel auf Veränderungen reagieren zu können. Mit unserem Team & Method Ansatz erreichen wir in langfristiger Zusammenarbeit mit unseren Kunden überdurchschnittliche Ergebnisse und hervorragende Kundenzufriedenheit.


Do you have questions about Open Source?
We would be happy to help you!