Open for Business: Leveraging the Power of Open Source

As a business, you’re always looking for ways to innovate. To do things smarter, better, more efficiently. Open-source software may give your company an opportunity to do all of that. If you know how to harness it.

What is Open Source Software?

Open-source software (OSS) is simply software whose source code is available for anyone to inspect, modify or enhance. Unlike proprietary or "closed-source" software, OSS is often developed publicly by a diverse group of developers, then released under a specific license stating how it can be used.

icon icon

What are the advantages?

Here are a few of the big reasons to consider choosing OSS over proprietary,
"off-the-shelf" software:

Here are a few of the big reasons to consider choosing OSS over proprietary,
“off-the-shelf” software:

Upfront Costs

Open-source software (OSS) and free open-source software (FOSS) have little to zero upfront costs. If it doesn’t suit your needs, you can abandon or modify it without much risk.

#2

ranked benefit of OSS among users: lower total cost of ownership. (#1 benefit? Higher quality software.) (2020 The State of Enterprise Open Source Survey)

Community Support

OSS often inspires a vibrant community of users and developers to form around it. These folks invest their time and attention to make sure their project thrives and encourage others to join.

1.3m+

first-time contributors joined the open-source community in 2019.
(2019, GitHub The State of the Octoverse)

Security & Stability

Since its source code is public, OSS is reviewed and scrutinized by its community. This leads to more secure, stable software without "hidden" issues corporations may try to conceal from users.

>85%

of open source security vulnerabilities are disclosed with a fix already available.
(Whitesource, 2019)

Flexibility & Control

Open source means you can modify software to fit your needs rather than building from scratch. That means more customization and control than you’d usually get with proprietary software.

95%

of IT leaders say open source is strategically important to their organization’s plans
(2020 The State of Enterprise Open Source Survey)

Speed & Efficiency

Since OSS is ready to "download-and-go," the acquisition process is much faster. Eliminating licensing fees, purchase orders and contracts can shorten your overall implementation timeline.

92%

of the time, mature OSS met or exceeded quality expectations
(2017, Linux Foundation)

Innovation & Growth

OSS has been called an onramp to the future. Open source projects can provide a gateway to innovation and new opportunities for your business.

79%

compound annual growth rate in the number of OSS projects from 2008 to 2018.
(2019, Open Source Compass)

icon icon

What should I look for when considering open-source software?

If you’re thinking about implementing an OSS solution for your business, make sure it checks these boxes:

If you’re thinking about implementing an OSS solution for your business, make sure it checks these boxes:

Documentation

Be sure thorough documentation is available for the software. Great documentation can make it easy to get started and find answers to questions that fit your use case.

#1

problem encountered with open source software: Incomplete or confusing documentation.
(2017, GitHub Open Source Survey)

Community

Look for a large community of backers, maintainers and contributors. A strong, active community means better software and a wealth of available information and support in the event of an issue.

40m+

developers on GitHub, including 10M new users in 2019.
(2019, GitHub The State of the Octoverse)

Licensing

Not all OSS licenses are created equal. Some are more permissive in terms of how they can be used. Check the license and its requirements. It could save you a headache down-the-line.

27%

of OSS use the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) License, which offers wide freedom of use, as long as you include the copyright notice in your software.
(2020, White Sources Software)

Long-term Costs

While upfront costs are low, if your open-source solution requires a team or vendor to handle ongoing maintenance and support — that could become a significant long-term investment.

34%

estimated annual savings in total cost of ownership for infrastructure platforms based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux compared to systems running Windows Server.
(2013, Red Hat Study)

icon icon

Open-source software at Garrison Hughes

At Garrison Hughes, we use OSS throughout our entire development stack. We deploy not only battle-tested projects backed by a strong community, but also exciting new projects with plenty of potential. Here are a few of our Interactive Development team’s most-used OSS:

At Garrison Hughes, we use OSS throughout our entire development stack. We deploy not only battle-tested projects backed by a strong community, but also exciting new projects with plenty of potential. Here are a few of our Interactive Development team’s most-used OSS:

icon icon

On web projects like RXAnte, a dynamic website with three distinct audiences, having the power to track, review and approve our team’s code changes through Git was invaluable.

Git is a distributed version-control system for tracking source code changes. Git supports rapid branching and merging, with tools for visualizing and navigating a non-linear development history.

icon icon

When Nemacolin Woodlands Resort wanted a dynamic display system to communicate with guests throughout the resort, we built a cloud-based CMS with PHP.

PHP is a scripting language generally processed on a web server by a PHP interpreter and implemented as a module, a daemon or as a Common Gateway Interface (CGI) executable.

icon icon

WordPress made it simple to include an easy-to-use CMS, downloadable content, social integration, search optimization in Fort Ligonier’s new website.

WordPress is a flexible, open-source content management system (CMS) written in PHP and paired with a MySQL or MariaDB database. Features include a plugin architecture and a template system.

icon icon

After extensive usability testing with site stakeholders, React gave us the tools we needed to create an optimal user experience (UX) on the Nova Chemicals website.

React.js is an open-source, front end, JavaScript library for building user interfaces (UI) and UI components and can be used as a base in the development of single-page or mobile applications.

icon icon

The online training system we built for The Children’s Institute needed ecommerce integration, strong security and flexibility. MySQL was the right tool for the job.

MySQL is an open-source, multi-user, multi-threaded relational database management system with cross-platform support, query caching, stored procedures and shared-nothing clustering.

icon icon

Confluence Financial Partners needed a secure site to protect high-net-worth clients’ information. Linux gave us the platform to build a powerful new server architecture with enhanced security.

Linux is the kernel at the core of an array of open-source Unix-like operating systems, typically packaged in a Linux OS distribution such as Ubuntu, Debian, Zorin OS and Open SUSE.

icon icon

Vagrant allowed us to reproduce the same environment as our live server environments, dramatically reducing the development and testing time needed to build the Vincent Payment Solutions website.

Vagrant is an OSS product for maintaining portable virtual software development environments that simplifies the configuration management of virtualizations to increase development productivity.

Leveraging open source

Increasingly, OSS has become the industry standard. Even tech giants like Microsoft are releasing some of their biggest products to the public. As the meteoric rise of OSS continues, more businesses will move toward this "bleeding-edge" of technology to be more innovative, cost-effective, agile and secure. Will you be one of them?

Interested in how we can make open source work for you? Let’s talk.

Client LoginSuper Secret Client Area