When IT Decision Makers Turn to Open Source Software It’s an Act of Liberation
What started as a lofty ideal with a revolutionary spirit, has meanwhile gained huge popularity in the field of IT and become an avalanche of expert knowledge. Yet one misconception stubbornly prevails. While IT decision makers have increasingly recognized the value of open-source software, there are still lots of people who mistakenly believe that open-source software is just about saving money. It’s not. The move to open-source technology is a much more fundamental shift.
Open-source software isn’t about saving money, it’s about gaining control over your digital world.
Even the most traditional industries and institutions, like financial services, universities and governments, are slowly but surely shifting from proprietary software to open-source software.
Source code is what developers write when producing a software of any kind. It’s a list of instructions given to the computer to make it perform a specific task or series of tasks. In order for any business to run, specific software is needed. There’s a broad range to choose from and lots of aspects need to be taken into consideration. At the end of the day, anyone investing in any product whatsoever wants the product to perfectly fit individual needs. Software is no exception, quite to the contrary.
When you buy proprietary software, the owner holds exclusive rights to the software and there are usually major restrictrictions or limitations on its use. This typically includes the source code being kept secret. Proprietary software licenses also often prohibit any attempt to discover or modify this code. Vendors retain the code for two reasons: to protect intellectual property and to prevent customers from making changes.
When you buy proprietary software, you’re also typically buying only one single copy of the software. For businesses, the total licensing cost is typically calculated by estimating the number of users that will be using the system and multiplying that by a per-user license cost. Vendors may also charge an extra fee for the various modules or areas of functionality being purchased. For larger businesses this can quickly sum up to a multi-digit investment as many employees need a licence.
Proprietary software builds critical dependencies. Users of closed-source software companies are more or less at the whim of where their supplier wants to take them. They’re reliant on the program’s developer for all updates, support and fixes. This may be slow in coming, absent altogether and can’t be influenced directly. Users are at the mercy of the vendor's priorities, visions, prices, and timetable, and that limits what they can do with the products they're paying for. At the end of the day, it’s rigid rules and lack of freedom that make users search for alternatives.
Open-source software (OSS), on the other hand, is purposely designed with the idea that the program’s source code is available. The open-source movement in software began as a response to the limitations of proprietary code. The software usually includes a license enabling programmers to change, modify and redistribute the software in any way they choose, without paying royalties or fees. This means that bugs can be fixed, functions improved, or the software can be adapted to suit customers’ needs.
Business owners and individuals alike can use open-source software to create whatever they want to create and have a greater control of their software stack. Users can make their own decisions and do exactly what they want to do with open-source software. They can add each and every feature they’d like to have to the code, they can use the software for as many domains as they’d like to and have an innumerable number of users working with their system. Open-source also means having a worldwide community of developers and users at one's disposal.
Like many other open-source software programs, TYPO3 CMS is a powerful content management system in itself. It’s also flexible and has the structure it takes to develop complex websites which are nevertheless user-friendly. You can download the current Long Term Support version (LTS) at typo.org and get going right away. And yes, it’s for free.
Although TYPO3 comes with ever so many features that make it such a powerful content management system, it could be that you find something lacking. Is there a specific feature you’ve always wanted to have on your website? Hire a TYPO3 agency or freelance developer and get it integrated. TYPO3 CMS is open-source software and comes with unlimited customizability, it’s entirely in your hand.
By investing in an agency or a freelance developer you are providing your company with an immediate return on investment as you get exactly what your company wants and needs for its website. “Wish lists” of features you’ve always wanted to have become “to do lists” to discuss with developers.
Money is a universal must-have, we’d be nuts to claim otherwise. It motivates much of human activity, is crucial for facilitating transactions and cost-saving is often a driving factor. Money is what makes the world go ‘round, meaning the world of commerce, buying and selling. It’s a resource to be used and it’s important to keep it in motion. This can be done in a way that directly benefits your business. And by doing so, economic growth is pushed as well as your own system becoming more powerful.
Stand out from the rest and unlock real business value by choosing open-source software to implement your website. TYPO3 CMS comes with unlimited customizability!
June 17th, 2017
Very good article! Nevertheless I miss mentioning of the community-level in the kind that some/most changes should be done in the public available code by engaging in the public issue-tracker with the target to make changes public available even across versions. For serious / larger companies it means if they want to change something in the code they should support or engage developers that involve in development of the public source. This means that the companies' developers (no matter about the contract) have to collaborate with the community also with the risk that not every change will pass all reviews for being accepted. I know it's done by many companies but for newbies in the open-source-sector this is an important hint to separate open-source still more clear from "free". Beside desires to implement personal / company's changes it's still another issue to support the TYPO3-Association i.e. for caring about the security by it's own security-team. So there are several areas where system-users can (and should) engage if they actively want to support development of the system. Keeps to mention that most individual implementations are usually done on extension-level and those extensions even can be kept private without publishing for public availability. Changes in the core of TYPO3 are for most companies probable not a desired target, so the community-level can but never has to be be dismissed. This might be important concerning the budget as collaboration with the community might be time-consuming and therefore expensive.