Guide

Open source software

Introduction

Open source software is generally free software that you can use in your business. Examples of open source products include Open Office, Firefox and Chrome browsers, Wikipedia, and the Linux and Android operating systems.

Many of the most popular 'off-the-shelf' business applications now have a free, open source alternative. You can nearly build your whole business IT system using only free open source solutions, potentially saving your business a lot money.

But cost isn’t its only advantage. Open source software is more agile and customisable to your needs and generally thought to be of higher quality and more secure than the proprietary software.

This guide will tell you exactly what open source is, how it works and what advantages and disadvantages it can bring to your business. It will also give you further examples of open source uses and explain open source licensing and legal risks, as well as what to consider when choosing open source software.