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Migration To Open-Source? Here Is a Simple Guide

Enterprises are quickly moving from the commercial software space to a more mature and economical community-operated open-source environment. To make the business user-friendly and fully digitized, this seems to be the most prudent solution. The transition, however, involves time and entails financial investment in innovative technologies.

Considering that the transition incorporates the entire operational ecosystem, including independent projects, connection pooling, third-party support, and more, it impacts application integration and beyond. To that end, this article serves as a guide to elucidate everything that businesses need to know about migration to open-source. In this article, we will learn

  • Why should you migrate to opensource?
  • Opensource migration best practices

Why Should You Migrate to Opensource?

The key reason to migrate to open-source technologies is to avoid vendor lock-in. Notably, public cloud vendors and open-source have a similar portfolio. However, the latter is not owned by any company, and the overall framework also remains common to consumers. If the core files are updated, it will impact all the projects.

Here’s why migrating to open-source makes sense:

Flexibility & Agility

The open-source ecosystem is highly flexible and agile. It typically offers multiple ways of problem-solving and prevents IT organizations from disruption because of the unavailability of a certain capability from a vendor. Businesses can create the capability themselves and start operating.


Open-source is more cost-effective than any proprietary solution. Also, it equips businesses to start small and gradually scale. This makes perfect sense for businesses on a constrained budget.

Information Security

Here’s what Red Hat’s The State of Enterprise Open Source report revealed about open-source security:

  • 89% of the IT leaders agreed that open-source was equally or more secure than proprietary solutions
  • 55% of the experts confirmed that their teams are able to use well-tested open-source code for bolstering their in-house solutions
  • 52% of them affirmed proper documentation around security patches
  • 38% said that they could audit the code

The ideas around open-source software’s robust security are evolving and for all the right reasons.

Opensource Migration Best Practices

Opensource technologies are not just limited to a particular set of users. Considering the improved availability of open-source technologies, here is a list of the best practices to migrate to an opensource environment:

Start Small

Always start small when you are migrating from traditional technologies to open-source. You cannot expect to introduce a new ecosystem that will be adopted overnight. Take small and smart steps but have clear choices. You will need a browser, like Firefox, and an office suite, such as LibreOffice. When you start small, the end users will also realize the convenience of this paradigm shift.

Deploy Simple Processes

Understandably, an application that has been in use for years will have features and compiled code that may be useless. Eliminate redundant code to make it more manageable and cleaner. For instance, remove outdated and unemployed settings, inactive templates and files, legacy URLs, model classes, disapproved functionality, etc.

Design Self-Contained Modules

Reorganize file structure precisely to increase simplicity so that things appear more natural. Independent and self-contained modules are easier to separate later.

Refactor Codes

Refactoring codes and testing are continuous practices. While migrating, it is highly likely that you reviewed the source code (existing) and noticed significant scope for improvement. This is an opportunity to refactor code and create a roadmap by preloading public issue trackers with errors to fix.

Update Legal Work

Depending on the complexity and size of the organization, it may take some time to migrate to open-source. From selecting the license and branding to naming authors and legal reviews, everything should be factored in correctly. Considering that legal documentation is critical to run the business, it is advised to add a license header to source files, attribute copyright and authorship for external codes, and take all the associated necessary steps.

Consider External Dependencies

Software developers must take the necessary steps to upgrade the software to its latest version and ensure it is working properly. Businesses would not want to run old or redundant code with dependencies. In addition, provide a list of dependencies and help people understand how to install the software before running it.

Build Public Code Repository

You must build a public code repository, which will give a much-needed push to the software to move it upstream. You can copy the directory out of the previous location and perform an initial commit. Though this can be disadvantageous as the previous history will not be available, it prevents revealing hard-coded passwords and secret keys.

Test & Deploy

If you’ve been working only on the local copy till now and inherited the artifacts from the application’s proprietary version, such as environment configuration and dependencies, it’s time for a change. Test as an external user on a new environment to refine your documents and clean up any outstanding issues. In doing so, you may come across several missing requirements, inappropriate settings, incomplete documentation, and bugs.

When completed, start over. Repeat the process until it starts working smoothly. This ensures future users and contributors can install the software without any major hurdles.

The Final Word

Considering and understanding the paradigm shift toward open-source software and its advantages is imperative for enterprises. Partner with Heptagon to take your open-source migration endeavours to new heights and adopt technologies faster. 

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