Open source : A vista of huge opportunities and challenges.


Open source : A vista of huge opportunities and challenges

To start a new project there is generally a dilemma as to what should be the development platform. There is always some hesitation to go for the Open source based solutions.  Objective of the discussion is to elaborate a few basic facts which are important to understand potential and challenges of The open source provides a huge vista of opportunities for development of  GIS or MIS based solution to any problem. based solutions.

The open source provides a huge vista of opportunities for development of  GIS or MIS based solution to any problem. Apart from Postgres, which is now being considered a robust RDBM, there have been large number of products for GI, BI or Image processing both for desktop and server based solutions. Some of the popular products are QGIS, GRASS, gvSIG, Geo server, TINA etc. All these products cover a large number of functionalities and are being used extensively in various areas. It is beyond doubt that use of these products, not only provide a no cost solutions as the product can be downloaded freely but also shall help one to provide a quick start to focus on the solution without any delay. To initiate such work, it is, however, important to take a note on the terms and condition of Open source community. No freely downloaded open source product or bundled with solution can be  marketed at a cost.

As the project progresses to incorporate new functionalities or new concepts, one feels the need of  add-on in any product.  It may be noted that these features, though may be available, it may be in discrete format. The IT  community has been carrying out extensive development and various codes developed may not be well integrated in a single product. Using such code in conjunction with specific product may not be feasible or shall require efforts to additionally develop a connector. Incorporating such features shall need specific development skills.

One of the major concern comes from the fact that as the development community enjoys complete freedom on development of products and uploading them for public use, it is noted that the practices lack on the front of documentation. Absence of such documentation may be challenging for the users. Keeping in view , no defined market for the development there may be scarcity on the front of availability of required support with specific  skillset.  Such support may also come at a very high cost with no assurance that the end product shall be in desired shape.

In view of above discussions, it may be seen that open source products may do very well in training set up, processing of assembly line functions or developing solutions around defined features thereby providing huge cutting in the cost. Large projects serving on line requirement need to exercise care in going open source way and  hence are recommended to develop their own man power resource pool for successful implementation.

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6 Comments on "Open source : A vista of huge opportunities and challenges."

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2 years 11 months ago

Article states : “No freely downloaded open source product or bundled with solution can be marketed at a cost.”. However, if you look at licensing of different FOSS/OS agreements you find that they do allow usage for commercial purposes:
Apache –

Copyleft open source works require that you distribute your software to all, under same license as you received it. Hence you no longer have a competitive/proprietary advantage which removes or reduces profit. Eg.

Agzze Kris
3 years 12 days ago

Pros and cons of open source gis apps have been clearly spelled out ! Open source and pro bono public initiatives have a future in open source and non profit sectors.But, when the prospect of a healthy return is a prime goal for any enterprise. The preservation of confidentiality extending into security and contract safeguarding will be prime in maintenance of market competitions.

3 years 11 days ago

Totally agreed with you Mr. Kris. Nowadays, many companies are taking up open source projects and using them on an enterprise level giving them the freedom of tinkering with the code and complex licensing too. Security is a concern and that is why many companies even hesitate to choose open source but I believe the security of a software depends on the quality of the architectural design and how complex and expensive it is to find the loopholes and back doors, including the consequences, which, I guess is some what the same scenario with any COTS software product as well.

3 years 15 days ago

I agree with you on the part of documentation as we ourselves faced this hurdle while working on a project where we could not find a properly updated documentation and even setup configurations. Free access of source code sometimes comes with a price of stability and perfection of the project, in the open source world, like everything has its pros and cons.
But products like ubuntu, Libre office, etc, where they have proper documentation and exception support forums which are closely monitored, have set a good example. So I think it is just the matter of taking up the responsibility.

3 years 15 days ago

Thanks. I agree with your views. Open source has to go a long way plugging all the issues faced by the developer community. More such comments shall be helpful for viewers.

3 years 15 days ago


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