Fun with OpenSource

Some interesting opensource items that I have been playing with:

  • JitterBit Integration Server – pretty nice stand alone integration server with various types of hooks
  • activeCollab – a flat out opensource “attack” at BaseCamp
  • SugarCRM – an extremely solid implementation of a CRM solution (although I’m slammed with a upgrade error due to my hosting provider having an old version of mySQL)
  • Cerberus Helpdesk – very nice HelpDesk solutions. Great for a small biz (free license). I use it
  • Owl KnowledgeBase – nice document management system but I need to dig down on its features more
  • KnowledgebasePublisher – great KnowledgeBase app…very simple and it works well
  • PHPSurveyor – online survey like surveymonkey. haven’t visited in a while.

I frankly think that there is a lot of value in understanding some of the established and new releases of opensource software. I find that frequently, companies throw big money at expensive solutions, when there are opensource solutions available that can do just as good of a job at a fraction of the price. The only drawbacks are the fact that if you want an end-to-end solution for something, you might be at a loss. Some things can be patched or strung together. My goal is not to look for huge enterprise solutions for large corporations, but rather, understand how opensource or paid-for opensource can be used to acheive a solution or success.

I think that a lot of people look at the software first and then see if it will fit, instead of trying to understand what the issue(s) is(are) and then work to identifying a solution. E.g. “PeopleSoft will solve all of your needs” … when it should be, what truly is the issue, are there other smaller packages that can acheive the same result without having the mass expenditure to only use a fraction of the product, or, getting hammered as well on the hidden costs of upgrading supporting applications or technology as well as integration with legacy systems.

So, what I try to do, is do a daily checkup on some of the hot releases within the opensource community. If there is something that piques my interest, I try to install and use. Typically, I can get a good understanding of a product by the installation process, configuration and then quick use cases. I can’t say how many half-baked installs I have on various subdomains. My webservers must look like opensource graveyards.

The ones that I mentioned above are promising. There are a few that I haven’t visited in a while but quick reviews show good progress from a development standpoint.

In later posts, I may dig down on some of these…

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Michael Sheehan (“HighTechDad”) is an avid technologist, writer, journalist, content marketer, blogger, tech influencer, social media pundit, loving husband and father of 3 beautiful girls living in the San Francisco Bay Area. This site covers technology, consumer electronics, Parent Tech, SmartHomes, cloud computing, gadgets, software, hardware, parenting “hacks,” and other tips & tricks.

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