Open Source Software Systems
"Capital Lite" Enterprise Software Fits Non-Profit Enterprise Need
Once, enterprise class software systems came only from software manufacturers or publishers. Only a dedicated, and typically large, manufacturer could sustain the enormous cost of developing, distributing, and maintaining a sufficiently capable, robust, secure software application that deserved to be categorized as “enterprise class”.
As in so many other industries, the Internet changed all that. The growth of open source software solutions in general, and of large-scale, sophisticated, robust enterprise applications in particular, during the past ten years has completely changed the landscape of applications solutions and systems.
And most experts will tell you the primary reason for such phenomenal growth and acceptance is based in one simple fact: successful open source software systems ARE successful BECAUSE they work, and work very well.
Free Open Source Software: No Capital Required
There is wide agreement among industry experts that installing and implementing a range of enterprise software systems could save many non-profit health care provider enterprises substantial dollars over their current operating costs.
And when such enterprise software systems are built and licensed as Free Open Source Software, or FOSS, the savings begin right from the start.
Why? Because “free” in the designation “Free Open Source Software” means (among other things) “no up-front capital required”. Any health care provider enterprise is entitled to procure authentic, legal licenses authorizing them to install and operate the software components comprising the system.
There are many enterprise software systems based on the FOSS model which are mature, feature-rich, secure, robust and very well supported.
And did we mention that they’re free?
Open Systems Tailored to Fit the Need
The “open source” in Free Open Source Software refers to the single most important feature of this type of enterprise software solution.
The term refers to the source code - the actual programming code itself - that is written by a human programmer to create an application. Open source is openly and publicly available to anyone to acquire, whether they make use of the application itself or not. Furthermore, the license for the right to use the application also authorizes the public the freedom to change the source code, to adapt it to unique needs or to add desirable features.
This approach is unlike typical proprietary or closed source software that license the privilege to use the executable version of the program, but does not make the source code available for access by the public, for either inspection or revision. In contrast, the open source approach encourages imaginative contributions by anyone with the appropriate programming skills and a driving interest to create and adapt the solution to fit the particular information needs.
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