Bootstrap Your Business With Open Source

I have written earlier how open source enables open mind and an open dialogue, here I discuss how open source domain can be leveraged to bootstrap a business and provide infrastructure for it.

This is the world where ideas can quickly build businesses. A good idea is valued in the market if you have the conviction and belief. Still, after the last dot-com avalanche, the venture capitalists and the sponsors are more careful; you have to go that extra mile to convince them about your strategy and cost efficiency. With IT playing an important role in the businesses, both of these factors can be highly affected by the software you choose.

With open source programming getting matured day by day, it is proven that the open source applications are not just a second choice or inexpensive option. They can contribute first hand to your business plan. They can provide high value not just by their cost but also by their merit. There are thousands of options available out there, lets look at some of them:

Desktops and Servers

Linux is a free operating system originally of developers around the world. There are thousands of different flavours available for Linux, some of the more popular ones are:

Linux has performed well and is being chosen in critical operations, including defense. This includes its use as a convenient desktop and high performance and secure servers. Here are some instances:

Office Suite

OpenOffice Suite is a multi-platform productivity suite. It includes the key desktop application, such as a wordpressor, spreadsheet, presentation manager, and drawing program, with a user interface and feature set similar to other office suites. It is also compatible with a variety of file formats, including those of Microsof Office, and the vendor-neutral OpenDocument standard from OASIS. What this means is that OpenOffice can not only read Microsoft Office documents, but also create them. It goes a step ahead and lets you create the popular PDF documents with click of a button. The OpenDocument is an open standard that lets you create documents that can be used in multiple office suites. OpenOffice tries to be compatible with other office suites in terms of its usage – the shortcuts, the GUI so that it is easier for other office suite users. It has to be different in some other places because it is much more flexible and provides many more possibilities. Here are some links for OpenOffice usage:

There is lots of information more available that can help you master this office suite. If you are using Linux there are also other options available like KOffice.

Accounting Software

Designed to be easy to use, yet powerful and flexible, GnuCash allows you to track bank accounts, stocks, income and expenses. As quick and intuitive to use as a checkbook register, it is based on professional account principles to ensure balanced books and accurate reports. GnuCash is backed by an active development community and is blossoming into a full-fledged accounting system. Amont its features, it supports the popular OFX protocol, scheduled transactions, multi-currency transaction handling, statement reconciliation, double entry , check printing and various reports.

Both these applications come with good documentation and experience of a vast community.


SugarCRM is a commercial open source Customer Relationship Management solution. You can choose to either buy the supported enterprise version or use the open source free version available. Both these packages contain core customer interaction management for marketing, sales and services.

Compiere is another open source Enterprise Resource Planning and Customer Relationship Management solution. It boasts of features like process driven design, quote-to-cash, requisition-to-pay, CRM, Partners Relationship Management, Supply Chain Management, performance analysis, web store.

Online Presence

Online presence is a must for any business today. Again, the open source domain provides a gamut of options available for developing corporate websites, online businesses, community driven sites, online magazines, news websites or blogs. There are variety of Content Management Systems like eZ publish, Plone, Bricolage, Campsite, Krang, Joomla or WordPress. Here are some examples of their adoption:

There are open source portal builders available for building intranets or company portals:

In addition to these CMSs, there are thousands of open source applications that provide domain specific functionalities on the web.

Other infrastructure

In addition to this following open source solutions are available that can be used by businesses:

  • OpenVPN – a open source full-featured SSL VPN solution
  • Asterisk – an open source PBX that can be used to develop VOIP solutions
  • Check here for many more open source VOIP solutions.

Businesses can benefit by considering these resources as it gives them more options not only in features but also cost.

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Copyright Abhijit Nadgouda

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