Deploying Free or Open Source Software in the SMB

Paul Mah

I have over the last few months written on various open source or free solutions for the small and medium-sized business. Rather than rattling off a list of such applications, I have tried to point out the various advantages and pitfalls, as well as situations where it makes sense - or not - to use them. Your mileage will obviously vary, but it would certainly be prudent not to shut the door completely on open source or free software.

 

Honestly, it is truly interesting how many robust, cost-free alternatives exist that are perfectly suited for an SMB. So just in case you missed the blogs, I have listed them below for your convenience.

 

Database

 

In Reasons for Using Open Source Databases in Your SMB, I highlighted a couple of reasons you would want to tap on two popular open source databases instead of buying commercial implementations.

 

Web Programming


 

Moving on to the area of Web programming, I came up with a list of reasons why PHP programming might be just the solution for your Web project and elaborated on them in Advantages of Web Development Using PHP. For the sake of a balanced argument, I went on with Disadvantages of Web Development Using PHP, in which I drew on my actual experiences working with PHP to highlight some of its weaknesses.

 

Networking

 

Open source solutions are hardly limited to databases or Web systems only. In Leveraging Open Source Solutions for Networking, I highlight how it is also being implementing in core networking equipment. In addition, I shared briefly about my experiences with the IPCop firewall.

 

Productivity Software

 

OpenOffice 3.0 Released to Rave Reviews was written late last year, and OpenOffice 3.1 has since been released. However, the earlier blog does provide some important background for those who have not heard of it. Of course, productivity software is more than just Office suites, and I also suggested a possible replacement for Adobe's PDF Reader in A Free Alternative to Adobe Reader.

 

Finally, folks facing strong resistance towards change in their SMBs might want to consider settling for a partial or gradual switch. Find out more about this idea in Do a Partial Switch to Open Source Solution.



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Jun 18, 2009 11:16 AM William Langford William Langford  says:

My clients are all small, financially troubled companies (my choice. they tend to have more interesting problems) and often I can save them hundreds of dollars a year by getting them to use open source software.

When I first broach the subject I usually encounter stiff resistance but once they see that Open Office is as easy to use as Word or Works things get easier. Often their reluctance to use open source is because they've had bad experiences in the late 80's or early 90's but Open Source has come a long way since then.

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Jun 22, 2009 12:16 PM Paul Mah Paul Mah  says: in response to William Langford

Dear William,

>Often their reluctance to use open source is because they've had bad

experiences in the late 80's or early 90's but Open Source has come

a long way since then.

I can't agree with you more. How would you peg the success rate of your persuasion?  5 out of 10 companies, 9 out of 10 companies etc? I think it would be an interesting figure to the rest of the readers.

Regards,

Paul Mah.

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