By rick | Thu, 06/06/2013 - 16:12
Open source is misunderstood. Monkeys are tribal by nature, so open source systems come naturally to us, but many humans have a hard time separating the truths from rumors regarding open source content management systems.
Whether you’re considering a switch to open source through something like a Drupal migration or a brand new site development, fully understanding the nature of open source sites is important to making an informed decision about what system is best for your site needs. Daniel Threlfall, of CMScritic.com, recently wrote about some of the most common myths regarding open source CMS. His list includes:
Open source CMS are easier than proprietary systems
This may be true in many instances, but it is far too sweeping of a generalization. Threlfall writes, “There are tons of open source CMSs, untold numbers of proprietaries, a million or so hybrids, and an infinite number of "easy" or "hard" things that you can do with them. This sweeping "easier" declaration is firmly founded upon the speaker's lack of knowledge regarding his or her subject matter.” It is important to get an accurate assessment of training requirements and staff learning curve before jumping in the tree with any one CMS program.
Open source = free
There may be free core system downloads, but you’re still looking at design, theme, support, maintenance and dozens of other cost factors. According to Threlfall, “In the end, the total cost of ownership does not necessarily land lower than the TCO of a proprietary system. You're going to pay for something, even if it's not the CMS itself.”
Open source has no training or support options
There may not be a company 1-800 number waiting to field your call like with a proprietary system, but many open source systems have passionate communities that provide a wealth of support knowledge. Threlfall explains, “Open source users can find online help, forums, paid classes, local meet ups, YouTube how-tos, expensive manuals, more expensive consultants, and whizz-bang contract developers. The support and training are there; they just don't get packaged into some monthly fee along with the CMS itself.”
Selecting the best CMS is a difficult decision, and should be made after exhaustive research. As tribal creatures, we strongly recommend choosing an open source system. Fair warning though, once you finally choose to go with a CMS, the development and design community is fairly split like a banana when it comes to the next decision: WordPress vs Drupal. Can’t say we didn’t warn you!