Trying something new is for some people a terrible thing to do, and it’s even more frequent when we talk about organizations.
I am a strong believer in open source, for me the open source software give your organization the flexibility required to evolve with the market. When I think open source, I think Drupal, WordPress, but mainly LibreOffice and Linux.
To adopt these tools you need a lot of open-mindedness, courage, and vision, because a lot of concerns are expressed when we talk about open source. Based on my short experience, it seems that these concerns are more based on beliefs than on anything else :
- Support I personally find that’s easier to obtain support from an open source project that from a closed source one. The problem is : you need to experience it to believe it !
- Security There is a misconception about open source and security. It’s not because your source is open that you are more vulnerable. It simply means that a lot more developers are able to work on a security issue.
- Compatibility It is true that LibreOffice is not 100% compatible with Microsoft Office. It’s close, but it’s not 100%. Does this mean that we can’t exchange .doc files with people using Microsoft Office. Of course not, it means that we need to take some precautions before sharing a document but when you think about it. And in the end, either you need to collaborate on a document and you need a collaborative tool like Google Docs, or you just need to send the final version of a document, in which case you are better of sending a PDF. The same goes for presentations.
- Total cost of ownership It is very difficult to find reliable sources to explain why changing your work habits and tools can lower the TCO. I guess that I will write another post in the future to talk about this subject. In a nutshell, I believe that the flexibility gain you obtain using open source are such that your TCO will be lower on the long term.
In order to understand if you can/should use open source solutions in your company, you need to assess if you are ready to try something different. There are tons of solutions for people who accept to act different. For those who don’t, then there is only deception.
That’s why I say it’s always about trying something new.