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Build Your Business With Open Source

Zonk posted about 9 years ago | from the putting-the-pieces-together dept.

Software 305

PCM2 writes "InfoWorld this week is running a ten-page guide to building your business entirely with OSS. The guide highlights OSS alternatives for many enterprise applications categories such as CRM, ERP, content management, and so on. It's not exhaustive, but where it skips the obvious categories like databases and Web servers it includes some others that you might not expect."

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Are yea serious? (0, Offtopic)

daviq (888445) | about 9 years ago | (#13286027)

"Nothing for you to see here. Please move along."

Re:Are yea serious? (0, Redundant)

daviq (888445) | about 9 years ago | (#13286087)

I seemed to be right on-topic to me as that it what showed up the first few times I accessed this story.

Scoop (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13286271)

In other news, Slashdot "editors" masturbate wildly...

CRM (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13286029)

no offense, but you are dreaming if you think that there are any OSS solutions for an enterprise CRM.

Re:CRM (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13286042) [] says you're wrong.

Re:CRM (1)

Dan667 (564390) | about 9 years ago | (#13286071)

Just what I was going to say. May not yet be a Pivotal, but won't be long.

Re:CRM (1)

Linker3000 (626634) | about 9 years ago | (#13286209)

Having experienced Pivotal, I hope SugarCRM doesn't follow that path - maybe it was the fault of those who implemented it, but I found it ugly, slow, unintuitive, lacking in good workflow practices and unnecessarily complex, with no concept of click-minimisation: we used it to register students for training courses we ran on behalf of another company (it was their system and we had a remote Citrix login for it) and it took roughly 5 minutes to navigate back and forth between the 'student details', 'company details' and 'course details' sections - ie: approx 50 mins to register a class of 10 students.

Now we 'work alone', we have implemented pretty much all the same functionality within SugarCRM. And then there's Pivotal's licence/software costs!!!

Re:CRM (1)

Lumpy (12016) | about 9 years ago | (#13286363)

Holy crap!

I have been looking for something like this for 2 years now. This thing rocks compared to that crap we use here (A.C.T.) I cant wait to demo this to management!

thank you very much!

Re:CRM (2, Interesting)

Saeed al-Sahaf (665390) | about 9 years ago | (#13286411)

Yes, but Sugar Open Source is only a watered down version of Sugar Pro, which is not available without a license.

Re:CRM (1)

Cigarra (652458) | about 9 years ago | (#13286330)

This really sounds like a flamebait, but anyway, here you are:
OpenCRX [] .

Re:CRM (1)

LDoggg_ (659725) | about 9 years ago | (#13286356)

Compiere [] also says you're wrong.
It is both an ERP and CRM and open source.
Only drawback is that it currently requires an oracle database, but work is being done on a Postgresql port.

woo (4, Funny)

grub (11606) | about 9 years ago | (#13286031)

"Build Your Business With Open Source"
By Darl McBride & Chris Sontag


Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13286109)

I insist you remove it!

Alternative option. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13286032)

I'll pay an extra buck for ease of use, thanks.

Re:Alternative option. (0)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | about 9 years ago | (#13286136)

This isn't a troll.

We pay more for ready made items every single day of our lives.
Sure, Linux is excellent, but until a critical mass of support confidence arrives managers won't even look at it (at least from my own experiences)

Re:Alternative option. (3, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 9 years ago | (#13286333)

You are not paying extra for ease of use, you are paying more for vendor lock-in. The choice is:
  1. Buy a single-vendor solution and hope that vendor keeps supporting it. It won't really fit your needs, but you can pay someone else to customise it and then be locked into using two vendors. Next year, support will run out on the solution you paid for, and you will be required to pay more for the upgrade.
  2. Start with a Free solution and pay someone to customise it. Require that they release the customisations to you as Free Software (usually by assigning copyright to you). Next time you need to migrate systems, you have all the rights you need to employ a different contractor to do the work. You might stick with the old one, since they are more familiar with the code, but you are not forced to.
No system lasts for ever. Eventually you will need to migrate to something new. The cost of migrating away from a platform should always be factored into the initial purchase decision.

Re:Alternative option. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13286405)

Once again, Slashdot reader's narrormindedness prevents them from differentiating between what is true and what they WANT to be true.

OSS is less easy to use, almost all across the board. Anybody who says Linux is easy to use needs to go try and TRAIN somebody how to use it. Anybody who says OpenOffice is awesome, go try and train a MS Office user, see what THEY say.

Re:Alternative option. (1)

dylan_- (1661) | about 9 years ago | (#13286357)

Sure, Linux is excellent, but until a critical mass of support confidence arrives managers won't even look at it (at least from my own experiences)
I really don't understand this. Sure, your boss may not even look at it, but you read Slashdot don't you? You must have occasionally seen links to stories about Linux server shipment figures? Like this [] ?

I mean, how can you write that "managers won't even look at it" when it's clearly a matter of fact that they do?

Seriously, I would like to know, because I keep seeing people posting in this way. It's not just you. How is it that people can post their simplistic theory and argue that it must lead to this conclusion, when it's flatly contradicted by basic reality?

Re:Alternative option. (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | about 9 years ago | (#13286468)

Basic reality is the people I am around on a day to day basis.
Slashdot and the web in general are a large scale MMORG.

If I pushed for full OSS solutions to the majority of my customers they wouldn't be my customers for very long.
Sure, a long term solution is in the works, and starting small with OSS projects helps (converting the offices to Firefox for example).
I am certainly not against OSS, and someday hope to see offices full of tux, but as of right here and right now, there is only one customer who would be willing to even fire up a Linux disk, the others would just stare blankly.

Bookkeeping software (1)

nysus (162232) | about 9 years ago | (#13286037)

I'm stuck with my current crippled version of QuickBooks. Any open source equivalents out there that you'd recommend?

Re:Bookkeeping software (2, Informative)

tzanger (1575) | about 9 years ago | (#13286197)

I'm stuck with my current crippled version of QuickBooks. Any open source equivalents out there that you'd recommend?

Appgen MyBooks Professional [] . Not affiliated with them, just a customer who's also looking at their AccPAC killer for his day job, Appgen Custom Suite.

Re:Bookkeeping software (2, Informative)

ch-chuck (9622) | about 9 years ago | (#13286201)

there's this [] - I don't know if they're equivalent tho.

Re:Bookkeeping software (4, Informative)

UnderScan (470605) | about 9 years ago | (#13286213)

The only quickbooks that I have used was a version for DOS back in 1995, so take my advice with a grain of salt. I haven't used this product myself, but Linux Canada [] makes Quasar [] a GPL'd accounting program. If you need it, you can buy tech support [] from them & if necessary you can buy the close source edition too.

Re:Bookkeeping software (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13286216)

I seem to recall some Gnome and KDE projects for personal finance, but nothing to replace QuickBooks. I suppose the closest you could get would be to put together your own system using spreadsheets.

NO! NO! NO! (2, Interesting)

panurge (573432) | about 9 years ago | (#13286478)

Don't do it. You will get into a hell of a mess. The biggest problem you will face is that basic business accounting consists of two parallel threads: cash in and out, and debtors/creditors. Reconciling them is key to producing management accounts, and you cannot do this with spreadsheets. If you have sales tax to deal with as well, it's much worse.
If you didn't understand the above, then you need to (a) learn basic accounting and (b) shell out for a commercial accounts system such as MYOB. If you do understand it, I will offer a comment. The small business system I have developed has about 1 man year in it, spread over about 100 customers. Is it really worth trying to save yourself a few hunded $$ for that?

Re:Bookkeeping software (1)

Zemplar (764598) | about 9 years ago | (#13286446)

Every version of QuickBooks is crippled! 8^)

Although I've used recent versions of QB and most FOSS alternatives, nothing quite comes close to QB for the majority of small businesses that need payroll, vendor lists, invoicing, checks, and other more esoteric features. I'd think there could be a market for an open source "QB killer" and this might be the final key missing for many small businesses to adopt open source systems. One of QB's best strengths is that many CPA's and tax accountants can take a straight QB file and do the businesses tax return - a feat not to be overlooked by alternative products.

I am absolutely not fan of Intuit at all and would love for someone else to simply make a better product in the same price range.

Huh? (1)

BlackCobra43 (596714) | about 9 years ago | (#13286055)

but where it skips the obvious categories like databases and Web servers

Do any businesses that would NEED software to do business NOT use at least one of these?

Re:Huh? (3, Insightful)

ucahg (898110) | about 9 years ago | (#13286077)

The solutions are as obvious as the categories.

Does anybody with the required knowledge of databases not know about Apache and Postgres/My/whatever SQL?

Good point (1)

BlackCobra43 (596714) | about 9 years ago | (#13286106)

Still, I would think that this book might appear "imcomplete" to PHBs and the likes.

Brain fart (1)

BlackCobra43 (596714) | about 9 years ago | (#13286122)

this GUIDE, not book. Oy.

Re:Good point (1)

Itchy Rich (818896) | about 9 years ago | (#13286210)

Still, I would think that this book might appear "imcomplete" to PHBs and the likes.

I always laugh when I read the acronym "PHB" used like this. To me it always meant "Psycho Hose Beast", a.k.a. bunny boiler.

Re:Huh? (4, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 9 years ago | (#13286262)

Actually, yes. I was recently (peripherally) involved with a project that is going to use MS SQL as the backend and IIS as the front-end. The reason? They didn't know there were alternatives other than Oracle (which they couldn't afford). Even pointing out the lower TCO and lack of vendor lock-in, they still went with the MS solution because they'd heard of MS, and not of the other projects.

Not all businesses have competent IT people.

Re:Huh? (2, Insightful)

Total_Wimp (564548) | about 9 years ago | (#13286542)

Not all businesses have competent IT people.

To go with something you know will do the job and that additionally your IT staff is familiar with is the very definition of competence. On the other hand, going with something you've never heard of just because it's 'free' is an incompetent thing to do.

I use Apache and MySQL, but I'd hesitate to recommend them to someone who has never heard of them. If they're not even familiar enough with open source to know the big players then it's questionable they'll get the value they deserve from them. There's tremendous value in using products you already know well, even if those products are relatively expensive.


Re:Huh? (1)

PhYrE2k2 (806396) | about 9 years ago | (#13286413)

The article seems more aimed at the software packages and inter-office communication. The web server software is often outsourced to those with more reliable internet connections.
Running 'front-line' servers isn't for everyone.


Re:Huh? (1)

IANAAC (692242) | about 9 years ago | (#13286551)

Actually, if you llook at most of the apps mentioned in the article, they all use MySQL and Apache, where applicable.

There's never really been a shortage of MySQL/Apache apps out there, at least in the last few years.

Now if only we had as much enthusiasm for PostgreSQL/Apache. There's SQL-Ledger and Mambo that come to mind, but nowhere near the number of apps for PostgreSQL as there are for MySQL.

An interesting demographic (4, Insightful)

rob_squared (821479) | about 9 years ago | (#13286060)

I've dealt with management at different companies I've worked for and the biggest issue they seem to have is that it will upset "the order of things." It seems that this is the perfect market for F/OSS. If you're already using it, its not as big of a headache to start. Now you just have to worry about the technical level of those that are starting their own business.

Who is listening? (5, Insightful)

bogaboga (793279) | about 9 years ago | (#13286062)

While I appreciate Infoworld's piece, I wonder whether anyone relevant is listening. My boss for example will not even take a look. He says, M$ products have been doing fine for him for more than a decade and can still do more for another few years.

Question is: Are the people who matter reading these kinds of reports?

Re:Who is listening? (3, Informative)

TripMaster Monkey (862126) | about 9 years ago | (#13286107)

Actually, I've recommended a few open-source alternatives to my management, and so far we've saved a few grand. My boss will do just about anything to save on the bottom line, and when I tell him that I can fill a particular need with OSS and get out cheaper, he's beside himself wth joy.

We listen we just don't believe you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13286200)

No, we are not listening or reading these things.

We basically say the same thing as your boss.

MS seems to be doing fine, we don't need to retrain, and the money is an operating cost we have already accounted for.

While open source is nice, a big concern is support.

Most staff is resistant to change, no matter what the source model of the software is. They want to keep doing what they know.

With our servers we use some BSD's because they are secure. We had one person say we should have a Linux box acting as our firewall, I promptly ordered them a new server and a nic with 8 risers (we only needed 4 machines behind it as it was and extra layer of protection). I then promptly told him he had to use NetBSD on it.

It seemed to piss him off some. He wanted Linux. Whatever, he did what he was told.

I digress.

Anyway, no we want things to run smoothly and OSS throws a monkey wrench in that. People expect the crashes, expect the problems that windows brings so we know our enemy. Adding OSS to the mix is just opening a whole new can of worms.

Re:We listen we just don't believe you (2, Insightful)

absurdist (758409) | about 9 years ago | (#13286275)

And it's creative vision and foresight like this that made the British automobile industry (BMC was once the third largest manufacturer of cars in the world) into the juggernaut it is today.

Re:We listen we just don't believe you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13286315)

you asked a question.

I gave the answer as it applies to the organization I work for.

sorry you don't like it.

we will never go out of business, we are goverment (state goverment)

Re:We listen we just don't believe you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13286342)

we will never go out of business, we are goverment (state goverment) That has to be one of the funniest comments I've ever read on /.

Re:We listen we just don't believe you (1)

Trelane (16124) | about 9 years ago | (#13286316)

With our servers we use some BSD's because they are secure. We had one person say we should have a Linux box acting as our firewall, I promptly ordered them a new server and a nic with 8 risers (we only needed 4 machines behind it as it was and extra layer of protection). I then promptly told him he had to use NetBSD on it.


Anyway, no we want things to run smoothly and OSS throws a monkey wrench in that. People expect the crashes, expect the problems that windows brings so we know our enemy. Adding OSS to the mix is just opening a whole new can of worms.

That's rather funny. Open Source Software (the expansion of "OSS") seems to be working quite well for you (NetBSD/OpenBSD/FreeBSD).

Re:We listen we just don't believe you (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13286537)

OSS in the server room is great. Those people are a small portion of our staff adn trainign is not a large cost.

the desktop is another matter.

I see no contradiction

Re:Who is listening? (4, Interesting)

Chibi (232518) | about 9 years ago | (#13286306)

My boss for example will not even take a look. He says, M$ products have been doing fine for him for more than a decade and can still do more for another few years.

Well, you have to consider that there will be costs associated with switching over. There's manpower to actually install and configure the software, and then there's training and learning curve. All for what? To be doing the same stuff you were before. So, it might not be appealing to your boss from that perspective (this is assuming that you guys aren't constantly upgrading MS apps).

Your best opportunity with your boss might be when contracts/licenses are being renewed, or when you guys need a new application, and an open source solution might work out better.

Note: Of course, it's entirely possible your boss is just an ass, although the two are probably not mutually exclusive. :)

Re:Who is listening? (1)

shmlco (594907) | about 9 years ago | (#13286528)

If you're talking about databases, there's also the costs of rewriting and debugging all those SQL Server queries and stored procedures. Not an inconsequential task at all.

If someone like mySQL or postgres REALLY wanted to make an impact, they'd add a SQL Server and/or Oracle emulation mode that used [ instead of " (ss), the same function names, the same date formats, and so on. I mean really. Can NO one use the same date function names and parameters?

Re:Who is listening? (1)

djfray (803421) | about 9 years ago | (#13286428)

Think of it like this....if these reports had information that could really benefit them, they would be looking into implementing what they describe. This is true of anything, by word of mouth, in physical or digital format. Some programmer(or even an executive, though, I would assume less likely, but not impossible) could read this, or anything, see potential, and discuss it with their boss, who evaluates it, yada yada, going up the chain of command. Not to marginalize the people who believe in these reports, but I think a good example would be all the people on the internet who claim to have various incredible inventions, but receive no endorsement, because they are not fully representing the reality of their device, or are flat out lying.

think like a boss to convince your boss (4, Interesting)

Brigadier (12956) | about 9 years ago | (#13286507)

My boss knows nothing about computers and doesn't care to. Once they allow him to meet his bottom line he will never change a thing. I've learned that whenever I speak to him instead of dicussing details and technical mumbo jumbo I break it down into profit and loss. I explain to him that by moving to a linux based OS server we can reduce our number of servers and downtime, and that the productivity incurred will = profit. Our P200 firewall/vpn/ftp/www servers have been running straight for over a year. While our windows boxen have brought the company to a hault on more than one occasion.

Heaven Forbid! (0)

kevinwal (883356) | about 9 years ago | (#13286065)

Chapter 1: Any Company Can Profit from OSS (Except software companies, which would be Evil)

Re:Heaven Forbid! (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 9 years ago | (#13286302)

Software companies can profit a lot from OSS. Most software sold is some kind of bespoke solution, and software companies can make a lot from taking Free tools and customising them to a particular business case. Databases aren't much use to a business - it's the application built on top of the database that's useful. The software they sell can also be Free Software - the customer can have (and should demand) all of the rights present in the Free Software definition.

It is very difficult to for a software company make money from off-the-shelf F/OSS, but very easy to make money from bespoke F/OSS. For this reason, I suspect the gaming industry to be the last closed-source segment of the market - and even they manage to make their code open while keeping their artwork non-Free in some cases (such as the Quake series).

Wait! I see something! (1)

utnow (808790) | about 9 years ago | (#13286076)

right here! []

Fluff (1)

goldspider (445116) | about 9 years ago | (#13286097)

The list of packages seems to be the sort of stuff that PHBs piss company money away on after they already have the bare essentials.

How about a list of the bare essentials instead?

Re:Fluff (2, Insightful)

Bimo_Dude (178966) | about 9 years ago | (#13286253)

The list of packages seems to be the sort of stuff that PHBs piss company money away on after they already have the bare essentials.
How about a list of the bare essentials instead?

So are you implying that ERP (specifically Financial), telephony, and CRM are not part of the bare essentials? Retailers don't need POS? Every business where I've worked has had many of these types of applications. What, in your mind, is critical (bare essentials) to business that is not on the list (besides database, and web - which was pointed out in an earlier thread)?

Disclaimer: I'm not a PHB. Not even a B. Just a lowly lackey.

Re:Fluff (1)

goldspider (445116) | about 9 years ago | (#13286351)

All I'm saying is that businesses have gotten along just fine in the past without heavy convoluted packages like ERP and CRM.

I'd be more interested in seeing a list of office suites, book-keeping, and tax software; the kinds of things that even small businesses need.

Re:Fluff (2, Interesting)

Bimo_Dude (178966) | about 9 years ago | (#13286490)

Ok. I understand now. You do have a point there, as the article seems more geared towards the larger businesses.

Things like Open Office [] , TurboCash [] (Windows only) which includes POS for retail folks. I'm not too sure about tax software. Even closed source tax applications for business are pretty difficult to maintain.

It would be interesting if somebody were to write an article that included absolutely everything a business could need, from the desktop applications, through database, financial, reporting, tax, web, OS, etc..., maybe categorized by small business, meduim-sized, and enterprise.

"build or buy" (4, Interesting)

ir0b0t (727703) | about 9 years ago | (#13286108)

I've wondered for a *long* time why coders do not prefer a build-it model to servicing mass-produced proprietary code.

The profession of coding would be stronger as a profession if coders kept the source open and sold time to build individuals what they needed. There is little danger that non-coders will suddenly wean themselves from the need to hire coders just because the source is available.

Doctors generally don't keep their medical knowledge secret to make money. They share knowledge and concentrate on practicing.

Re:"build or buy" (0)

geoffspear (692508) | about 9 years ago | (#13286137)

That's not really a very good analogy, unless you can download a free appendectomy.

Re:"build or buy" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13286279)

Actually it's a very good analogy. After all, not many people can perform an appendectomy, let alone, perform one on themselves. Its a service, not a product after all.

Also, you need to consider the fact that even if you can perform an appendectomy, maybe your time is more valuable if spent doing something else.

Making money on F/OSS more or less requires you to bill time for what is essentially skilled labor. It could be coding, consulting or administration or something similar.

This is just like how a Doctor bills you time for a his expertiese and skill in performing a diagnosis, assisting with rehabilitation, performing therapy or removing that infected appendix of yours.

Re:"build or buy" (1)

geoffspear (692508) | about 9 years ago | (#13286497)

Yes, but software is a product. There's no real reason for coders not to produce a product and sell it when they can, except the philosophical reasons put for by FOSS advocates.

Besides, the scientific knowledge behind medical practice isn't really analagous to source code. Programmers don't keep language reference manuals, etc. secret, in the same way doctors don't keep medical knowledge secret. Some doctors choose to work for pharmaceutical companies that sell proprietary drugs, and some choose to perform a service for patients and charge the patients. The analogy to software breaks down here; selling proprietary software might be like selling proprietary drugs in some sense, but selling the service of writing software to one person and then giving away the product you produced for them to everyone else for free is nothing like selling the service of healing an individual. There's no leftover healing to give away. If there was, you can bet the doctors would sell it for as much as the market would bear.

Re:"build or buy" (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13286156)

mod parent up

Re:"build or buy" (1)

plopez (54068) | about 9 years ago | (#13286243)

I don't think it is as much coders as it is PHB's. PHB's look at in-house or contracted 'build-it' projects and are frightened since:
1) They do not know how to manage them
2) It amounts to R&D and is therefore high risk.
3) If your home brew application mangles data, it is the PHB which takes the heat. WHile if the 'off the shelf' application breaks, you blame the vendor.
4) There is a good argument for cost sharing. 5 Companies sharing the cost of an application end up paying 1/5 (in theory) of what the in-house app. would cost.
5) Smaller IT staff, and instead of paying for the best you hire a few monkeys as the vendor is expected to do the hard core support.


This Story is Perfect for... (-1, Redundant)

Doc Squidly (720087) | about 9 years ago | (#13286113)

Step 1. Start a business using OSS.
Step 2. ???
Step 3. Profit.

It's more than just choosing applications (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13286119)

Keep this in mind: a big-ass list of "open-source replacement alternatives" sort of implies that the closed-source path is the "normal way to do it" in the first place. If you're starting from there you've already lost. Every alternative choice will need to be justified to death and most will lose.

Better to bring the philosophy in this way: "We will use the best tool for the job. We strongly prefer open source for reliability and flexibility reasons; we will consider commercial products where appropriate." And then do the best job you can do with the tools you've chosen. A record of excellent results, even a very short one, is the best way to give open source a toehold.

Use Free AI in Your Business (0, Troll)

Mentifex (187202) | about 9 years ago | (#13286133)

Mind.Forth [] is the world's first open-source, public-domain, no-charge-to-use True AI that you may adapt and modify to use as an electronic brain to know facts about your business and to not only answer questions but also to advertise your business when you modify the AI source code and pass it on further with your advertising messages embedded in the free, educational artificial intelligence.

914 PC BOTS [] is a discussion forum where you may share information about installing the free Mind.Forth [] software in your own PC BOT robot employees and customer service representatives.

It's all described in the free-to-read-online AI4U alternative textbook [] of open-source artificial intelligence.

but its shit (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13286180)

and you are a nutjob []

try getting a proper job and then you wouldnt need to spam your crappy project here

vertical market apps (2, Interesting)

danheskett (178529) | about 9 years ago | (#13286158)

Most business need a line-of-business or vertical market application for day to day use. General purpose apps are great for general purposes, but many many many businesses are based of regional vertical market applications. Stuff like point of sale systems for stores, software for furniture stores to schedule deliveries and inventory, medical billing software which is highly regionalized, software for denists offices, software for small banks, software for warehouse management, software for small movie rental stores, etc. General purpose computing is doing great. But for vertical markets small niche vendors are doing great.

the leper version (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13286163)

Build your own business with open sores!

LDAP server moving closer to becoming commodity (1)

jurt1235 (834677) | about 9 years ago | (#13286186)

And I was under the assumption that LDAP servers were dinosaurs quickly heading to extinction. Other SSO solutions work too with just a simple database behind it and not the added complexity of LDAP maintenance.

Re:LDAP server moving closer to becoming commodity (1)

Tony Hoyle (11698) | about 9 years ago | (#13286491)

Active Directory is an LDAP server (with kerberos storing passwords, etc.)

That's about as commodity as you can get in the business world.

I wouldn't touch slapd with a bargepole in comparison... editing your user list in LDIF format using vi is *not* fun, or productive.

All well and good... (2, Insightful)

thatedeguy (896452) | about 9 years ago | (#13286198)

Until something doesn't work, then who do you call?
Personal computers are one thing, since at the moment the only people that use open source software are geeks, but in a corporate(business) environment, if something goes down, it has to be back up fast and without support, how does one accomplish that if it isn't withing that admin's realm of expertise?

Re:All well and good... (1)

GecKo213 (890491) | about 9 years ago | (#13286380)

When I have a problem with an Open source program that "breaks" I always head to IRC and jump into a room that has people talking about those type of things for help. When I was first getting into the Linux world I was in IRC constantly asking for help and trying to help others with the limited knowledge that I had at the time. Most people are very willing to help out if you can come up with a specific question or problem.

Re:All well and good... (4, Insightful)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | about 9 years ago | (#13286385)

Until something doesn't work, then who do you call?

Umm, your vendor or whomever you contracted for support. a corporate(business) environment, if something goes down, it has to be back up fast and without support, how does one accomplish that if it isn't withing that admin's realm of expertise?

If your admin can't manage a recovery plan and/or can't figure out how to run and install the software you need then you need a new admin. This has nothing to do with open vs. closed source or commercial vs. free software. Do you work for the government or something? That is the only place I've heard of where decisions are made that way. "We wanted to build a concrete building but the contractor we hired only knows how to build log cabins, so the building will be made out of logs." You choose your employees and your software based upon their strengths and weaknesses. If you can save 100K a year by using Apache instead of IIS across your whole enterprise, but your systems administrator can't figure out Apache, fire his ass pronto. He's got to be incompetent. It's as bad as those correspondence school programmers who want a job at a real development shop but can only program in visual basic and are completely unable to learn any other languages. It's just sad.

Re:All well and good... (1)

thatedeguy (896452) | about 9 years ago | (#13286517)

Umm, your vendor or whomever you contracted for support.

And when you download it from a website somewhere without contact info? Which does happen btw.

If your admin can't manage a recovery plan and/or can't figure out how to run and install the software you need then you need a new admin...your systems administrator can't figure out Apache, fire his ass pronto.

Managing a recovery plan and running and installing software is completely different from finding a bug in software. Where I'm from(North Dakota, USA) admins only get paid about 50k, so finding one who can handle everything is fairly rare. And there are some errors/bugs that are rare enough that until you run into them, you haven't a clue how to fix them and thus need some form of support. The thing to remember is that not everyone is an UberGeek.

SugarCRM sells support for its product (2, Insightful)

mindaktiviti (630001) | about 9 years ago | (#13286462)

That's what you're buying, and yes you are correct about corporate people not being tech saavy.

My dad is the best example. He doesn't want to bother with do-it-yourself or free software because in reality, it's cheaper for him to buy something with support than it is to get something for free and it may not work exactly.

Of course I load up his work computer with firefox, thunderbird etc, but when it comes to his website, he'd be more interested in a company that would do everything for him, which is the right thing to do since he charges his customers $100+ an hour.

Re:All well and good... (1)

Dogers (446369) | about 9 years ago | (#13286513)

You don't deploy until you know what you're doing with it, same as with MS stuff.

When MS stuff breaks, what do you do? Call MS and pay them $250 for each problem?

When OSS stuff breaks, what do you do? Call someone with expertise on the subject (a consultant?) or ensure you have someone on site who knows what the hells going on! :)

Re:All well and good... (2, Interesting)

La Gris (531858) | about 9 years ago | (#13286555)

Open source or Closed source have nothing to do with operating software and engaging responsability on installation and services.

Imagine you run a wood factory and need accouning software and stock application.

Your domain is wood, not IT. So you Hire someone or you buy service to an IT company to provide you with proper software that feets your computing needs.

Wether the provided software is open source or closed source is not your business. You just like it to do the intended work. If something's wrong you tunr back to the entity who can fix it: the IT company that sold you the installed and operationnal system and support service.

Open source risk is a non question for the final user.

Open source is all about source and none about providing installed binaries for an operationnal application.

Home Office (4, Insightful)

doombob (717921) | about 9 years ago | (#13286218)

The company I work for always provides me with Non-OSS supplies like Fireworks, Dreamweaver, Frontpage, MS Office, and Windows XP. But my work at home involves various types of media projects including audio, video, and web. Right now I use Nvu [] for development, Audacity [] for my audio editing, and I'm trying out Jahshaka [] for video editing. And of course Open Office [] for everything else.

Re:Home Office (1)

robyannetta (820243) | about 9 years ago | (#13286352)

...I'm trying out Jahshaka for video editing...

Hmm, I'd go 100% open source if a GPL'ed non-linear video editor was available for Linux. I'll check into this, thanks.

Human Resources Management (3, Interesting)

Linker3000 (626634) | about 9 years ago | (#13286226)

Almost as confirmation of an 'ask Slashdot' question of mine a while back, there still seems to be a big hole in the area of Employee/Human Resources Management.

Re:Human Resources Management (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13286494)

I've found most IT folks don't like HR folks ...

Re:Human Resources Management (1)

Linker3000 (626634) | about 9 years ago | (#13286579)

Yes, but we still have to provide them with some apps!

If a company was smart... (4, Interesting)

MarkEst1973 (769601) | about 9 years ago | (#13286237)

... they wouldn't need this kind of thing. It's kind of like Paul Graham when he mused about his competitors and how it didn't really matter whether they knew he was using Lisp or not because, in the words of Robert Morris: "If they were that smart they'd already be programming in Lisp."

If a business was smart, they'd already be using open source as a competitive advantage. Google knows about servers and handling load. Your local PHB does not. Your PHB wants to buy Windows Server 2003. Google customized their own Linux distro.

I know enough to follow the really really smart people, like the ones at Google.

Re:If a company was smart... (1)

Joehonkie (665142) | about 9 years ago | (#13286403)

Yes. Because all companies can afford to keep a large amount of development staff on hand. Espescially business who do not have an IT focus.

Actually... (3, Insightful)

bobalu (1921) | about 9 years ago | (#13286427)

if they're smart they do what works for them given their employees, time requirements and other resources, regardless of the prevailing fashion.

Re:If a company was smart... (4, Insightful)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | about 9 years ago | (#13286459)

If my company was in the 'insanely huge search engine' business, I'd likely do it pretty much like Google does it.

As we're not in that business, what works for Google (customized Linux distros running 10's of thousands of servers) may not work for me.

N3P - Project Entrepreneur in Open Source (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13286246)

Project Entrepreneur in Open Source []

N3P offers a brand new, contrasting and intrepid two-year college level training in how to become a successful Project Entrepreneur in Open Source. Students will learn not only the technical possibilities, but also how to exploit new business opportunities, manage profitable ideas, and create flourishing businesses.

Starting August 15 this year, N3P will admit 40 students - 20 at our classrooms in Stockholm City and 20 through a system of advanced distance learning. There will be one new class each year 2005-2008, with the possibility to expand the concept into other regions and markets.

The typical student is between 20 and 30 years old, driven by one of three motivations; 1) the desire for prosperity, 2) independency or 3) to radically innovate. N3P will carefully screen the applicants for doers, not talkers, while persistence, passion and the ever so important ability to sell, are other important criteria.

The training will focus on how to generate business using open source. The future will show a great demand for individuals that have the ability to implement necessary changes. They should be entrepreneurs, fluent in new technology, project management and marketing. They also should excel in sales and development of new products and businesses. N3P identifies them as "Project Entreprenerus".

Missing items (5, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | about 9 years ago | (#13286277)

and many times it's specific to what industry you are in but overall Sales and marketing tools are always missing from OSS. Where are tools for customer prospecting? how about tools for industry research off of aggregate databases available for purchase? Let alone a decent 4gl accounting package that exists as OSS.. dont get me wrong, I can buy a closed source real accounting,Inventory,and POS system for linux (no not that newbie crap like quickbooks or peachtree, a REAL accounting system) but there is no OSS stuff available that has a nice set of modules and Open scripting programming language set like 4gl so I can whip up a nice custom shipping module.

hen we get into the specalized apps, where can I get an OSS program to mine my Scaroborough or Nielsen databases I get sent monthly? How about a Traffic and Billing system for commercial sales in broadcast?

It's a neat idea, and with crossover office I can run those "special apps" but you can not realistically run your entire business on OSS. your accounting system at a minimum still needs to be a closed source app.. No commercial quality Accounting system exists in a useable state yet.

Found the article interesting (1)

chia_monkey (593501) | about 9 years ago | (#13286280)

I actually read the article (talk about good reading in bed...) and actually found it a bit interesting and useful. Not only did the have a section for each application of OSS, but there was a list at the end. That way we didn't have to go through the whole article and find the applications again. Hey, time is precious. I ended up tearing out that last page and some day I'll get down to checking them all out.

Some other factors (4, Interesting)

plopez (54068) | about 9 years ago | (#13286314)

I read the article but if it is mentioned, I missed it; but there are 2 factors which should be considered in the 'build or buy' equation:

1) Lower risk of orphaned applications. If your vendor goes casters up or is bought out you may find your most useful application(s) unsupported.

2) I have a real problem with the 'one size fits all' ERP model. Suppose you have a business process which gives you a real advantage over your competitors. If you go with an ERP package which requires you change to the same business processes your competitors use, you just lost an important advantage. There is nothing to differentiate you from the competition (not to mention the fact that all real software should model the business process, not vice versa).

1) seems to be poorly understood by most PHB's, the thought never seems to come up.

2) I think this is due to PHB's being trained in an industrial paradigm. A paradigm which says it does not matter, all 'widgets' are the same and so the process should also be the same. Which may be true when building dishwahers and refigerators, but since most of the US economy is now a services economy this does not work in a services based industry. Services should be unique, otherwise you are *only* competing on price, which is insane.

Excellent Fit... (4, Insightful)

wgray8231 (905984) | about 9 years ago | (#13286327)

My department at a research hospital/university was recently (almost 2 years ago) formed. (Formerlly a division in another department.) The new chair moved everyone to GNU\Linux (Debian) because he hates everythin M$ stands for. It works out great with limited funding b/c the department spends less on software and many of the tools used in the field are available as OSS anyway.

What doess XPPro and Office cost for 20 or so computers, anyway?

missing from the list (1, Informative)

lkcl (517947) | about 9 years ago | (#13286337) [] is missing from the list of ERP solutions in the article.

GIMP, CinePaint, and Hollywood (1)

Sundroid (777083) | about 9 years ago | (#13286377)

Don't forget that Hollywood is a big user of open source software such as CinePaint, which is basically a "Son of GIMP". Hollywood studios like DreamWorks, Sony, ILM use CinePaint. A bit ironic if you think about it -- the most profit-driven business, Hollywood, uses free open-source software.

Personally, I use GIMP extensively to create graphics for my blog ( [] ), and have written a blog entry in praise of the good old GIMP ( f-gimp.html [] ).

Oh, yeah, open source all the way!!!!

No offense (really) ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13286536)

... but those are some pretty ugly [] graphics [] . Doesn't really sell me on GIMP at all.

Exchange Replacement? (2, Informative)

cca93014 (466820) | about 9 years ago | (#13286425)

Until someone comes up with an all-in-one replacement for Exchange Server, there will be no rest.

I run a small (5 person) business, and we try to use FOSS as much as possible. I could not find anything out there to replace our Exchange Server. It works, it's stable (2003 is, anyway), it syncs with our PDAs etc. etc. etc...

Why no Open Source SSL VPN? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13286426)

Can't believe SSL-Explorer [] isn't listed. It's probably my favorite OSS solution this year!

Why? (0, Troll)

kirk26 (811030) | about 9 years ago | (#13286506)

Why ruin your business if you use Open Sores? Yuk! The business won't stay in business very long because no one will no how to install a simple program in Linux. Standard install Linux!!!!!! You hear me???? It should be one file to install the program!!!! No recompiling the the kernel or whatever to get that POS Linux to install something!

Open Source Shared Calendaring?? (2, Interesting)

Zarquil (187770) | about 9 years ago | (#13286534)

I've been searching for a small shared calendaring option for a while.

I'm not looking for a full-blown groupware suite - our email is done off-site by our ISP. I only need something I can tie everyone's calendar's together with - I want it small and focused on just a single task.

Boss is married to Outhouse, one guy has a Mac, I'm using Sunbird (although I'll adapt if I *have* to), so we have to tie in a bunch of platforms.

My current leanings are to Kolab with the Toltec connector (Note to OS naysayers: I'm not averse to spending money here! I would prefer Open Source.)

I'm reading TFA in the hopes of finding something - but I've seen nothing on a quick scan through it. Any other tips I could be following up on?

Linux Still not "Out of the box" solution... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13286558)

I have made a few attempts to get the ball rolling and install Linux on a spare computer here or there. Just the other day I tried Ubuntu and even though it is "linux for real people", I still think you need to be a hacker to get it fully running to the point of windows. Now if a home user has a hard time getting their sound to work, imagine the considerations of a manager to switch given time crunches, etc.

I'm all for Linux (especially in the light of vista), but Linux has a ways to go before it is an out of the box solution for business.

Exchange ? (1)

KurtisKiesel (905982) | about 9 years ago | (#13286603)

Is there an M$ Exchange/Outlook03 equivalent out there that is open source?
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