Open Source News

How to Avoid Red Flags with Library Support Vendors

We love a good viral trend and couldn't resist jumping on this one! We hear so many myths when it comes to open source solutions and library support vendors that are major red flags to us. We're sure you've probably heard them too and we're here to squash these common misconceptions.

Red flag to avoid: "Open Source is not as secure as proprietary software"

Huh, what? Says who? Who let you in here?

Open Source is everywhere. Android, WordPress, Firefox, OfficeLibre and so many more softwares you use everyday are open source and you might not even realize it!

People tend to gravitate to what is most familiar to them. IT Departments may feel fondness in being brand loyal to certain softwares, even if the softwares don't offer the customizations, flexibility, cost, or user experiences they need.

Open source software has processes in place that allow any security issues to be identified, addressed, patched, and approved much more quickly than proprietary software. There is an entire network of people with eyes on the system that can actually make open source more secure.

Red flag to avoid: "Anyone can change Open Source code"

What? I'm somebody. I have no idea how to do that!

In all seriousness, there is a structure in place that prevents just anyone from changing the code. All code changes requires Quality Assurance testing and release manager approval.

We encourage everyone in the open source community to get involved in the important process of testing and providing feedback on bugs. The open source community drives the development of the code in a positive way by making code enhancement suggestions, testing them, and providing feedback. You can learn more about this process here.

Red flag to avoid: "You're on your own with Open Source"

Alone? Me? Never. I have friends all over the world.

If you haven't heard us shouting it from the rooftops- community is everything! You are never alone with open source. You are instantly connected to a huge group of international users. There are local, state, and regional user groups. There are groups that meet regularly in person and online. There are email listservs, chat rooms, Slack Channels, YouTube channels, conferences, webinars, trainings, etc.

While you can strike out on your own to download and host your own open source software with the aide of the community, most users find solace in the infrastructure and assistance of a support vendor like ByWater Solutions.

Red flag to avoid "We charge for each support question."

Umm, how much? Can I get an itemized receipt? Wait, don't charge me for those questions.

We can't talk about community and support and then make it hard for you to access us! The majority of our staff at ByWater have a background in libraries and our staff all love answering your questions and all work in support in some capacity. We are software sleuths, puzzle and game lovers, data geeks, and problem solvers. Because we're also modest, if we don't know the answer, we'll find someone who does! Our support package is an all-inclusive buffet of knowledge and we love learning and exploring the ever expanding world of open source right along with our library partners.

Red flag to avoid "We own your data."

The audacity.

We love to joke but one of the things we take very seriously here at ByWater is our values around data and privacy. Your data is yours. You never have to buy back your data (again, the audacity) or worry about getting locked into a one-sided relationship where the support vendor holds all the control. We are equal partners and we refer to all of our libraries as partners.

Want More Information?

We're always here to communicate and answer questions on any topic surrounding open source and library support.

Jessica Zairo
Director of Library Sales & Outreach
ByWater Solutions

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Tags Open Source