As a critical component of any IT solution, the choice of OS has both business and technical value for an enterprise. Sometime back we wrote about how Open Source Softwares are gaining popularity, in this post we will write few points about Open Source Operating System and the steps you can take to help ensure your success with an open-source OS.
What is Operating System (OS)?
The operating system (OS), a collection of programs that serves as the interface between the hardware and the applications running on that hardware. The OS manages all the other programs the enterprise uses as well as the allocation and use of hardware resources such as the CPU, memory, and hard disk drive.
Why open source for operating systems?
Open-source OSâ€™s present a low-cost, secure, highly interoperable contrast to proprietary systems. The open-source model for OS development spurs innovation beyond the four walls of a company, in sharp contrast to the high-cost, high-maintenance, proprietary development approach behind systems like Microsoft Windows, AIX, or HP-UX. Opensource OS licensing costs can be significantly lower than their closed-source equivalents, especially for customers wanting a full-featured distribution on high-end systems. Additionally, open-source OSâ€™s that run on multiple platforms and work with a variety of applications from many sources make vendor lock-in less likely â€” and companies with special needs can customize specific open-source OS modules.
Things to keep in mind while deploying Open Source OS:
- Ensure that the open-source product you are considering has an established track record. Nobody wants to be the first customer for an OS. Everyone wants to know the platform already has an ecosystem around it and that itâ€™s ready for production grade usage. If an operating system doesnâ€™t run on your hardware or doesnâ€™t run the leading-edge software you need, itâ€™s useless.
- Determine whether the OS is both maintainable and cost-effective. Itâ€™s important to know whether the OS has a life-cycle around it or whether service runs out in two years, leaving the datacenter on its own. And can the OS can be managed efficiently or will it need to be replaced every year and require the retraining of staff?
- Ensure that the product has a substantial following and an active open-source community that supports it. Size and momentum are critical success factors for an open-source product to ensure it attracts ongoing maintenance and support.
- Be sure to acquire the product from an authorized source. Where source code is available, there is a possibility of sourcing products from unauthorized sources.
- For this reason, enterprises should acquire open-source products directly from a vendor that vouches for the technology or from the primary online repository for a particular product.
- Remember that many enterprises use a mixed environment so they can recognize the benefits of open source while leveraging their existing IT investments and expertise. Moving to open source need not be an â€œeither/orâ€ scenario. The beauty of open source is that it easily co-exists with current environments. New IT projects are a great way to get started with open source. Acquisition flexibility can result in a mix of open-source software, packaged software, and custom code.