Opensource is widely accepted solutions for big to small businesses. The lure for opensource is its price. Opensource software is software that is developed by people with a real interest in developing applications for everyone to use for free.
It is free to use and usually distributed for free. Some companies packages it up so it can be easy to install and for this they charge small fees. While some companies sell the product and give support for limited time.
Most of the opensource product develop for the Linux platform. Before accepting Linux as operating system assure that Linux support is adequate if needed. Taking support from the same person who sold you the software is not a good sign after all. He’ll end up owing your business.
Operating cost of opensource is extremely low. You need not to spend anything on license fee or server fees. Voluntary nature of developers further reduce the cost. There is no need of any secrecy for the matter such as audits with the opensource. There are no pesky encryption or activation code to download. You need not worry about to pay for any upgrade or for improved version which is already free.
If you want to evaluate opensource for small businesses you have to establish an evaluation system for opensource. The first step is to set up a test bed server. This can be older server which can be reliable and fast enough to approximate in real world results. Most of the opensource software is Linux based so you have to decide on Linux distribution. Red Hat Linux and Suse Linux are two of the best and both are supported by the companies that distribute them.
Now, you need a development environment and a SQL server. MySQL is the best choice. You need a distribution package. The best for Apache, MySQL and PHP is XAMPP which can be downloaded at apachefriends.org. Just install in piece by piece. Make sure that application you are considering has external support. Also assure that application has user manual. Many open source packages are released with nothing more than a few sentences describing the installation process.
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