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1. Are the open source license terms compatible with business requirements ?

 

Open source is mainly protected by copyright law, and the license provides the basis for the rights you have on the software. To be classified as open source. any product needs to adhere to the four freedoms: to use, to study, to redistribute, and to improve. However, licenses often include other terms that might be incompatible with certain business models.

 

2. What is the strength of the community ?

 

An open source project is not just about the code, but also about the open community surrounding and sustaining the project.

 

 

3. How well is the product adopted by users ?

 

The test of any open source project is how well it has been adopted by various user groups and organizations. Many of the mature open source projects showcase various clients who have adopted and are using their product. This gives you some assurances that the product will deliver on its promises, especially if you find an existing client similar to your enterprise. For OSCAR the community is driven by OscarCanada.org

 

4. Can I get a warranty or commercial support if I need it ?

 

All open source project licenses are provided free 'as-is' without any warranty. Based on your need, you could also support it to a certain extent internally and depend on voluntary support from the community. The ideal open source project has multiple vendors involved in the product that provide different types of support from customization to maintenance to 24x7 production assistance.

 

 

5. What quality assurance processes exist ?

 

Many of the most popular open source projects now have the maturity and stability to support mission-critical production environments, but there are still many where the stability does not meet the mark. QA process either internally or by a suitable vendor.

 

6. How good is the documentation ?

 

At bare minimum, products need user manuals and administrator guides. Sometimes these guides are available online in the form of a wiki or even tutorials.

 

7. How easily can the system be customized to my exact requirements ?

 

Open source, as opposed to proprietary products, inherently means that the code is available for you to customize to your heart's content. However, the cost of customization varies based on the architecture and extensibility of the system, how cleanly the code is written, and whether the product APIs are well documented. Generally, there will be a vendor that can do this customization on your behalf for a fee.

 

8. How is this project governed and how easily can I influence the road map ?

 

There are different models for how open source projects are run and how decisions are made. The best governance model is one that includes all stakeholders - developers, users, vendors - in a transparent decision-making process. For larger open source projects, a dedicated foundation is also invaluable in providing the necessary legal backing and assuring the intellectual property is managed well. Ultimately, the better your ability to engage and influence the developer community as a user, the more responsive the project will be to your needs.

 

9. Will the product scale to my enterprise's requirements ?

 

This check is important, even for commercial products. Research case studies and performance tests to ensure that the application can scale gracefully to the demands you place on it. Many open source applications are built on the LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP/Perl/Python) or J2EE technology stack, which is generally one of the most scalable technology stacks available. A lot of the popular Web application portals utilize this stack and have customized it end to end to accomplish great scalability. One of the benefits of going with an end-to-end open source solution model is the long-term flexibility it provides.

 
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Open source software solutions provide the healthcare community with the minimal cost for the acquisition and support yet meet their needs for care delivery.
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