EME Community Edition

BIT and Open Source Software

Business Integration Technology (BIT) has been associated with open source software since our founding in 2005. We built EME, fileXhub, SQL ICE, and PaperClipPlus.com on a standards-based stack of open source software and made our software available as open source as well. We examined the variety of open source business models and chose to offer our products for free with BIT providing primary support and control of the code. We also chose for several years to align ourselves with an open source vendor that evolved into a hybrid open/proprietary, free/subscription model.
BIT’s focus is, and always has been, on solutions that provide value to businesses that benefit from direct electronic exchange of information with suppliers, customers, and service providers. These customers were interested in open source – and our solutions – for several important reasons:

  • Low cost of entry. Without large up-front license costs it is possible to build a business case incrementally, starting with a pilot program and proving the benefits before committing to a large expenditure.
  • Security. Open source software enables organizations to explore innovations from smaller vendors without concern that the software will be unsupportable if the vendor goes out of business or stops supporting the particular product. Open source provides the benefits of a source code escrow without all the fuss.
  • Standards. Most if not all open source projects are built on other open source projects and this makes it extremely likely that the code will both interoperate with other software and that it can be supported by staff with readily-available skill sets.

But open source is not required to get these benefits.

A software solution requires a lot more than code and even open source solutions have costs. A reasonable license fee for innovative, highly-productive software can lead to a very low cost for the entire project.

In many cases, the license fee is a small part of the cost. The cost of provisioning a server, installing the software, monitoring the network, securing the data center, backup and disaster recovery can be substantial - both up front and on-going. The advent of highly reliable, scalable and secure cloud infrastructure has changed all that. And that's why BIT has become an Amazon Standard Technology Partner. As a member of the Amazon Partner Network, we have access to all the latest tools and technology as well as support from Amazon's own team. Now our customers can go to the AWS Marketplace and create a running cloud instance of one of our products in minutes and without any up-front costs or long-term commitments.

Open, public access to the source code is not what is really important. As long as a perpetual and royalty-free license to the code it provided, a customer has the security of knowing that they can find alternative sources of support. That’s something most proprietary software doesn’t provide.

Good software architecture adheres to open standards whether it is open source or not. Vendors should be required to show that their software is implemented in adherence to best practices including open standards.

In projects where there is strong community involvement, access to the source is critical for the benefits of ‘many eyes’ to find defects and ‘many hands’ to correct them as well as harnessing the innovation of a large group of practitioners. But when a project is overwhelmingly supported by a vendor for the benefit of the vendor’s customers, community involvement in the code just doesn’t happen. There may well be a vocal and participatory users’ group making sure defects are corrected and leading the way to innovations that benefit the users’ business. But that does not require open source. It just requires good communication between vendor and user in a healthy user forum.

BIT wants to provide all the important benefits without the overhead of maintaining an open source community. We will no longer offer software in a Community Edition. We are committed to meet our customers' needs by:

  1. Keeping our license costs low enough that very cost-effective pilot projects can prove the value of solutions for our customers.
  2. Providing perpetual, royalty-free source code licenses to customers that want the security of access to the source.
  3. Keeping our customers very involved in our product direction without being concerned about programming or other use of the source code.

BIT's fileXhub makes it simple to manage your own Internet file transfer hub. fileXhub is based on open standards and lightweight secure technology. fileXhub makes it easy to build comprehensive, integrated, and secure managed file transfer applications.

Business Integration Technology will continue to offer very cost-effective, innovative software and services to create solutions that solve our customers’ problems and enable our customers to leverage technology take advantage of opportunities to create value. Our products will adhere to best practices for enterprise architecture in a closed-source, vendor-supported business model. And we will make certain that license costs don’t stand in the way of our customers’ success.