Author: Mark Douglas
Sycamore Education’s school management software utilizes open source code, and that’s a great thing. But what exactly is open source, and why should you care?
Microsoft Office is closed source. It’s developed by a single entity with a limited number of paid developers, and only the final product that you run on your computer is made available. All of the source code is tightly controlled; it’s not freely available, and can’t be modified. And, of course, you pay for this product.
OpenOffice (by Apache) is open source. This product was developed, and continues to be developed, by a very large community of users and developers. Its source code is readily available, and there are no licensing restrictions regarding modification. OpenOffice is free of charge.
Sycamore Education utilizes the LAMP stack, which stands for Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP. More specifically:
Everything in the LAMP system is 100% open source. Myriad companies use LAMP technology to drive countless web applications. Technology companies take advantage of LAMP for many reasons, but chief among them is the fact that LAMP is extremly powerful, yet relatively simple to use.
Using open source products – like LAMP – offers many benefits for businesses, developers, and end-users.
Open source products are extremely flexible. There are no licensing or copyright restrictions, and developers have the freedom and flexibility to build, adapt, and modify applications in any way they choose. This often leads to new innovations, and to products better tailored to meet the specific needs of end users.
Major open source products (like LAMP) are tested, supported, and scrutinized by literally thousands and thousands of users and developers, as opposed to proprietary products, which are generally tested by a very limited number of employees within the company which owns the product. That’s why products like Linux are often considered far more secure than their commercial counterparts (in this case, Microsoft Windows).
Open Source applications are generally easier to develop and deploy. With LAMP in particular, developers can write powerful applications with fewer lines of code. And since there aren’t licensing, copyright, or other legal issues to deal with, open source products are generally much easier to deploy.
Open source software is generally free of charge. This means lower costs for businesses, which, of course, leads to lower prices for the end users. Many of Sycamore’s competitors use commercial alternatives, like Microsoft’s .Net platform. This leads to higher prices for consumers. It also tends to result in a product that’s not as flexible, and more difficult to enhance and upgrade.
Due in large part to savvy utilisation of open source software, Sycamore Education’s school management software offers some huge advantages to its clients. Sycamore is highly flexible, and new features and enhancements are relatively simple to incorporate into the system. It’s extremely stable and secure. And (perhaps best of all) it costs a lot less than any comparable system on the market today.