Best of Open Source Software Awards 2009
InfoWorld's 2009 Bossies spotlight today's Top 40 open source products for business and IT prosFollow @infoworld
Intalio has been criticized regarding its open source claims, most likely because the company does not provide source code on its Web site (where binaries of the free community edition can be downloaded). However, Intalio's enterprise edition customers do get full access to source code, and the source code of community edition components -- which fall under Apache and Eclipse licenses -- are obtainable from their community-based repositories.
Intalio's Eclipse-based graphical modeler simplifies process design while the Intalio Server provides an extensible plug-in environment to connect most enterprise infrastructures. The Tempo framework (part of the server) adds human workflow and connectors to a variety of technologies including BPEL, Web services, REST, and XForms, while Intalio's underlying ecosystem stretches from lifecycle management tools to deployment monitoring. A new perk comes by way of the OpenPMF 2.0 framework, which is now included for application security. Your developers don't need to be security experts to configure security properly.
Intalio has been working to plug CRM functionality into the mix, but so far those capabilities remain basic. Another nit: Apache Geronimo is the only application server supported in the community edition.
However, new beta features reflect enterprise needs, including a business rules engine, Ajax-driven forms for easier editing, and a more streamlined deployment interface. The full enterprise edition also includes BAM (business activity monitoring), a portal interface, ECM (enterprise content management) based on Alfresco, fail-over clustering, and support for application servers beyond Apache Geronimo.
Free vs. free
Clearly, as open source marches into the enterprise the term "open source" no longer equates with "free of charge." Free open source makes good sense if the abbreviated features or limited number of seats in community versions serve your business needs. Otherwise costly consulting and customization charges may begin to outpace savings on commercial licensing.
Although many companies will find the free versions of open source applications sufficiently appointed for small workgroups and department level projects, purchasing a license and support package will still frequently reap a better deal, feature by feature, than you'll find in closed commercial offerings.
InfoWorld Test Center contributing editors Andrew Binstock, Brian Chee, Curtis Franklin Jr., Rick Grehan, Martin Heller, Neil McAllister, James Owen, Paul Venezia, and Peter Wayner contributed to this article.
Read about the best free open source software for Windows.
High Mobley is a contributing editor to the InfoWorld Test Center and president of q!Bang Solutions, an IT consulting company based in Las Vegas.
James R. Borck is senior contributing editor of the InfoWorld Test Center.