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How Open Source Software can Benefit a Business

For those that do not know what open source software is, it is software that is created under a special license which allows people to contribute to the product to further develop it.  It is free software and typically can do just as much as other software that you have to pay for.

When it comes to a business, there are many expenses that are incurred, but by finding the right open source software, you can save some of your money for other expenses.  This is particularly beneficial when you are just starting out and need to watch every penny that you spend or if your business is having a hard time making a profit.

Logo Open Source Initiative

Logo Open Source Initiative (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Open source software is especially great for a small business that does not have a lot of requirements for software because they can likely find something that will work for them that is open source.  Larger companies or those that have a very specific type of software may still need to purchase software to get the features that they require to run their business.

By using open source software you do not have to deal with buying licenses for each computer you have that runs that particular software.  This is one less financial expense as your business grows and expands.  Licenses can add up quite quickly and before long, you can have an expensive bill that you have to pay to use the program, not to mention the cost of buying the program.

A nice benefit to open source software is that if you are looking for a certain feature, you can get it programmed in for you and the cost would likely be cheaper than buying other software that costs money.  This would depend on what exactly you are having done, but it likely would be more beneficial to do this.

One great example of open source software is Open Office.  It has many of the same features of Microsoft Office but there is no fee for it.  You can find it at openoffice.org for download.  You can create documents, spreadsheets and much more with this program.  You can save your files and send them to someone with Office and they should be able to open them.

You can also find open source software for accounting, databases, pictures and many other types or programs that you may require.   Just do a search for “open source” or “freeware” and the type of software you need and see what comes up.  You can also go to download sites such as cnet.com

and search by type.

Do you have a favourite open source program that you use for either home or business?  Please share in the comments.

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