FreeBSD in the travelling industry
Kevin D. Kinsey, DaleCo, S.P.
kdk at daleco.biz
Sun Mar 14 12:40:36 PST 2004
Matthew Seaman wrote:
>On Sat, Mar 13, 2004 at 04:58:46PM -0600, Kevin D. Kinsey, DaleCo, S.P. wrote:
>>>Are there anyone out there with experience in using Open Source
>>>software on top of FreeBSD to manage a travel agency?
>>>I have searched through Google and Freshmeat without really finding
>>>any decent Open Source booking systems. I was hoping someone could
>>>give me any hints as where to start my journey.
>>I wonder if there's a niche for this?
>>You could probably get some guys
>>over at sourceforge interested in
>>an app ... web based, perhaps?
>>PHP? Or Perl?
>>Heck, if I knew anything about
>>the travel business .....
>There are niches like this for all sorts of business applications --
>Customer Relationship Management, Payroll, Account Books, Billing
>Systems, Business Development Information Management, Trouble Ticket
>Management. The common characteristics seem to be:
> * That they are or can be generally structured as 3-tier systems
> (Data -- usually a RDBMS backend, Logic -- business logic middle
> ware: web based applications in Perl, Java or PHP are becoming
> popular in this role; and Presentation -- either a specialised
> 'thick' client application or more and more often nowadays a web
> browser (the ultimate 'thin' client)).
> * Generally require a degree of bespoke work for each client -- if
> not writing the entire system from scratch, then assembling it
> from a library of modules and customising various parts to the
> clients specific needs.
> * Very rarely done as Free or Open Source projects. About the
> only good example I can think of is the 'RT' Trouble Ticket
> management system: http://www.bestpractical.com/rt/ Usually such
> projects are done on a contract basis for each specific client.
> Most companies supplying such software will have a generic
> version available more as a shop window than as a serious sales
> proposition -- RT is towards the generic end of the spectrum.
>This sort of software business is huge, and lucrative. Up at the top
>end, this is where the likes of Oracle and SAP make the majority of
>their money. But businesses of all scales need these sorts of
>applications, and there are certainly opportunities for people willing
>to exploit the freedoms (and lack of licensing costs) of open source
>software. If you can provide an effective and cost effective solution
>to a small business, they aren't going to quibble too much about it
>running on some weird system like FreeBSD that they've never heard of
>before. And you aren't going to have too many worries about costs and
>OS problems and dealing with viruses etc. making it uneconomic to take
>their money in order to provide a support service for a system running
>on our favourite OS.
>While such applications need not be 'free' in the free-beer sense, or
>even generally published to the 'net at large, there's no overriding
>reason for them not to be open source between the customer and vendor
>-- in fact, that would generally prove a great selling point at the
>low end: even if the vendor goes bust, the client is not left entirely
>high and dry if they have access to the source code.
>This is perhaps the next great opening where Free software can make
>in-roads, after the 'generic server' market and the network appliance
>market. It's certainly a much more tractable proposition at the
>moment than attempting to conquer the desktop market.
Excellent post, Matthew; and this is most certainly
what I was hinting at. I currently have lots on my
plate, but one project I'm excited about, if not quite
worked up enough to finish (!) is a web-app for a
particular warehousing niche. Many retail business
are utilizing web-based/browser apps on the sales
floor; I see no reason why this shouldn't hold true
in the warehouse. Almost every job seeker in most locales
within a few more years (if not already) will be at least
"passing" familiar with the interface....
I already have created a grotesque monster in
PHP that tracks my appointments, submits my
worklogs to my billing service, calcs my checkbook,
manages customer data & domains, monitors
my servers, reports my yearly income/diem, holds a
document repository for FreeBSD, PHP, MySQL, etc.
As you've noted, the real issue is that anything
generic enough to apply to "most any" niche is
not specific enough to be useful to the average
user, (e.g. nola, dea, etc., well, possibly!)
My two pennies (and thanks for your GBP!)
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