5 stars of open-source products
Once a curiosity of computer rooms, open-source software applications are now giving commercial programs a run for their money in public-sector information technology shops.
In fact, public-sector IT managers say free licensing isn't necessarily the most attractive characteristic of the best open-source products today. Many stand out for their stable programming code and array of useful features or, conversely, their stripped-down feature sets that eliminate unnecessary bells and whistles.
The top open-source programs in the public sector mirror those favored by commercial companies, said Michael Goulde, a senior analyst at Forrester Research. Many of them fall within the ubiquitous "LAMP" product set: Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP, an operating system, Web server, database and scripting language, respectively.
Here is a closer look at five open-source products and why they are winning favor in government IT shops.