Despite the fact that a large number of companies (of any size), institutions, organizations and freelancers work with Microsoft Windows and numerous and varied proprietary software, GNU/Linux may also have a gap, as well as free and open source software . In fact, this kind of software can have fantastic benefits for SMEs and freelancers, and even for large corporations.
In addition, after the pandemic crisis, do not pay licenses It can also be a huge advantage in reducing the expenses of almost any guild and type of collective, but it is not the only positive thing that this software and the GNU/Linux operating systems can contribute. On the other hand, the hackneyed stereotype of free software = poor quality runs out of arguments...
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Advantages of open source software for SMEs and freelancers
El free and open source software It has become popular among developers, and it is also increasingly popular among end users of companies, startups, SMEs or freelancers. And not only to save and control the costs of software licenses (even more so if it is licenses for several computers or users), but for many other considerations. Some potential benefits are:
- Licensing: Of course, free and open source software licenses are usually free. Although the licenses do not exempt you from paying, almost 100% of this type of software is free, only some projects charge. This can mean enormous savings, even more so in SMEs where there are several teams or users, and it also represents a relief for freelancers who see how sometimes the budget goes to acquire proprietary software. On the other hand, keep in mind that now the licenses are not for a single payment as before, being able to use the software for life, but they are usually paid month by month or year by year, which can be frustrating in some cases.
- Intellectual property: It is another of the great advantages, not only because you can make as many copies as you want, but also because it is open source, you will not commit piracy crimes or tarnish your image by using pirated software. One cannot even forget the fact that this type of software can hide malicious code camouflaged in cracks, modified files, etc.
- Flexibility: you can also modify the code if necessary to adapt it to the needs of your company, which is a huge advantage over the proprietary one.
- Reliability and security: In today's digital climate, robust security and reliability is a must. In this sense, open source software is very transparent about what it does or does not do. It's not without intentional backdoors, but at least it would be more apparent to so many developers. And on the other hand, by staying away from more widespread software, you also stay away from the most popular targets for cybercriminals. This can save a lot of headaches and even stratospheric financial losses.
- Dynamism: Open source software is very dynamic, it evolves very quickly, and even forks or derivatives of projects emerge to meet different needs. Therefore, it is another great advantage for those who want to be on the crest of the wave in terms of technology.
- Quality: Despite the fact that many attack alleging that this software is of poor quality, or usually has more problems than the owner, there are stable projects, robust as a rock, safe and with functionality as good or better than other closed products. You simply have to know how to choose the best alternative, the one that best suits the needs of each SME or the self-employed.
But not everything is benefits. This type of software may also have other disadvantages which are often used as a throwing weapon against him when other arguments are lacking:
- Support: Although the community is usually very active and there are more and more tutorials or help forums for open source software, it is true that it is one of the things that usually generates the most reluctance when adopting this software. However, it should be noted that many projects do have support if you need it, such as the RHEL and SLES operating systems, among others, and they work just like a proprietary software company.
- Learning curve: It is another of the excuses that many make for not adopting this type of software in their companies, whether they are SMEs or freelancers, many users are used to using Windows and other proprietary software. For this reason, when making the change, the first thing they notice is a resistance to continue using the new, and sooner or later they decide to go back to proprietary software as they have not been able to overcome this initial resistance. However, open source software is not that complicated in some cases, and works quite intuitively.
The best programs for business use
Finally, I would like to highlight some business software open source you should know about, like:
- Collabora Office: It's basically LibreOffice, but intended for business use and under the Collabora umbrella. Plus, it's available for mobile, desktop (cross-platform), and for use as a cloud service or integration with Nextcloud.
- Zoho CRM: If you are looking for CRM (Customer Relationship Management) software, then this can be a great solution for freelancers and SMBs.
- Nextcloud: You can select this open source cloud service for storage.
- The ELK Stack: is one of the best open source BI (Business Intelligence) projects.
- LoyversePOS: This is a POS or point of sale software for merchants, and is free, open source, and available for iOS and Android mobile devices.
- Mautic: is a free Marketing Automation type software, and that you can install on your own server.
- WordPress: for those who need a CMS, for their website or ecommerce store, then this is a great option, although you also have other fantastic possibilities such as Shopify, Magento, Joomla, Drupal, Alfresco, etc.
- MaintainX: if you are looking for CMMS (Computerized Maintenance Management Software), this is a good alternative, with apps for mobile devices.
- OpenProject: an open source alternative for other Project Management such as Microsoft Project.
- Dolibar: combines both ERP and CRM functions for small and medium-sized companies, as well as for freelancers. However, there are other alternatives such as Apache OFBiz, Tryton, Odoo, etc.
- OrangeHRM: an open source software for HR management.