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Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Open Source CMS & Mainstream IT Solution

There is a good article on open source content management systems in the latest issue of EContent Magazine. Excerpts with edits and my comments:

Linux’s poularity and growth is facilitating growth of open source in many areas and, the number of open source content management products on the market is growing. What separates opensource CMS companies such as Zope, Lenya , eZ publish, and Nuke from better-known counterparts is that the open source products tend to focus solely on Web content management, rather than enterprise content management
Open source vendors—also provide the code (though not necessarily for free), and companies can do with it what they will within the terms and conditions of the license
. Usually this means that a company can manipulate the code in order to develop a CMS that meets particular specifications. Open source software packages tend to be more of a foundation on which to build a CMS, rather than a more polished "out-of-the-box" solution that comes from mainstream content management vendors. Although there are typically no licensing fees associated with open source solutions, requisite customization often requires intensive in-house development (and probably help from an outside consultant).

Most of these packages are Hypertext Preprocessor-based. Known as PHP, this is an open source, server-side, HTML-embedded scripting language used to create dynamic Web pages. Blossom explains, "PHP is the key for many of these systems. It's an interpreted language similar to Perl, which doesn't require a compiled executable to operate—a Web page defined via PHP gets loaded, interpreted, and executed each time it's invoked" (it can be cached to reduce interpretation overhead). "Libraries to support PHP are built into most Apache Web server releases, as are mySQL libraries, so, it's near-zero incremental investment for most systems to use CMS on the typical rack server," says Blossom of Shore communications. Frank Gilbane points out- "There are lots of development costs associated with the open source systems. The licenses are free, but you still have to surround any CMS application with a lot of services. This is at least as true with open source as commercial packages" In fact, it is in this specialization and customization that many open source companies make their living. If you are looking for a lot of flexibility and have a powerful in-house development team that can work together with consultants as need be, open source content management systems can work in the enterprise. In fact, several of the better-known open source content management companies like Zope compete with the proprietary solutions for enterprise sales. For the most part, opensource is not seen as a big threat to the major ECM players.

Category : Opensource.
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