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10 best uses for open source software in the business world

heroCertain inevitabilities occur in technology. For instance, open source software will make its way into your business. Ten years ago, this could easily have been called into question. Now? There's no way to avoid it — and there's no reason to. With so many powerful (and necessary) pieces of technology, open source has become, in various cases, the savior of tech. But what areas of your business are best suited for open source? The answer to that question is, of course, will be different from one company to the next. But some applications can apply in almost every circumstance.

Let's take a look at 10 possible best-case uses for open source software that can help make your business grow, bring you a level of flexibility and reliability you haven't experienced, or just save you a welcome percentage of your budget.

1: Server software

If you're still battling Microsoft's IIS platform, you need to experience Apache. The flagship open source web server software is one of the most widely used on the planet. It's free, incredibly reliable, easy to manage, and doesn't require the enormous overhead needed for IIS. But open source isn't limited to just web servers. If you need SMB sharing across your company, consider Samba. Samba 4 even integrates with Active Directory, so you don't have to worry about setting up separate user accounts on the Samba server.

2: Development

Developing with open source is a no-brainer. PHP, Rails, Perl — there are as many languages to develop with as there are tools (from IDEs to bug tracking). There are a lot of options for developing for open source or with open source tools (as are there with proprietary development). The biggest difference between open source and proprietary is the access you have to the software code. Within the world of FOSS (free open source software) the code is readily available. For many developers, the Linux operating system has everything they need to develop, built right in (especially those who code without a full-blown IDE). If you do require GUI development tools, open source has you covered.

3: Security

The route to security is a challenging one, but there are many paths to success. You can opt for the "security in a box" solution and go with the likes of Cisco (a solid solution) or you can craft your security to perfectly fit your needs with the likes of iptables. Yes, the open source security route will take a bit more time to deploy (with a much higher learning curve), but the end results are generally incredible. This doesn't even address the idea that using open source on the desktop is, generally speaking, a more secure platform than most proprietary systems. Deploy Linux on the desktops and your security woes will drop dramatically.


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