LJ Archive

Open Source Solutions for Small Business Problems by John Locke

Stephen Haywood

Issue #134, June 2005

Charles River Media, 2004

ISBN: 1-58450-320-3

$39.95 US

Working for a number of small businesses, I have seen first hand how Linux and open-source software can be used to solve specific problems. It is great to see a good book detailing open-source solutions for small businesses. John Locke takes an excellent approach to this subject by addressing both the business manager who must decide what solutions to implement and the IT administrator who must implement those solutions.

Locke covers all of the software you need for your small business, including e-mail, customer relationship management, finance and disaster recovery. Each chapter provides valuable background information aimed at helping the nontechnical reader understand both the problem and the solution, as well as the details necessary for an intermediate Linux or Microsoft Windows administrator to implement the solution. Locke wisely chooses software that has the features you need, as well as strong community support. He recommends Postfix for e-mail because of its security, performance and feature set. He also recommends RetrieverCRM for customer relationship management and SQL-Ledger for financial management. Most of the solutions Locke presents will run on Windows as well as Linux, for an easy transition into the open-source world.

Although Locke provides good instructions on how to implement these solutions, there is not enough room in his book to provide all of the details you may need. For this reason he provides many references at the end of each chapter, pointing you to books, articles and Web sites that can provide the details you need. Written for a beginning to intermediate user, Locke does a great job of keeping the chapters simple and easy to follow.

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