Whether to Use Open Source or Windows Development Platform

The following questions was on LinkedIn today:

How to decide whether to use Open Source or Windows development platform.  we are working on creating a SAAS model for a payroll and HR software. The debate we currently having is to on what software to develop Open Source or Windows. Need some help to decide the parameters on which to compare so as to come up with a logical decision rather than the decision based on gut.

Here is my response:

I started typing a couple of different responses, and then stopped as it occurred to me that the world of the operating system has turned upside in the last ten years, because your choice for OS is literally Mircrosoft or Open Source. All of the other vendors have either gone open source or are too small to consider as real choices anymore.

So from the OS point of view, it is a choice of who your support vendor is now.

Once you choose your operating system, then you need to choose your software packages. This is where in-house skill is a big part of the equation, because if you don’t have people that will take complete ownership of both the framework and custom code, your open source options narrow. You have to look at which projects have the most solid team that will still be updating the product n years from now. Currently, those are products that either have vendor sponsorship (and you expect the vendor to be around n years from now) or are so wildly popular for so long that even if the current group gets rich and bored someone else will step in.

And, back to the Windows or something else question: For a web-based application, if software doesn’t run on both (at least a version that runs on both), I wouldn’t consider it.

But (as Dennis Miller used to say every week), that’s just  my opinion. I could be wrong.

© Scott S. Nelson

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