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Question added to topic Building a WebsiteSeptember 16, 2008

My company creates custom content management systems for high-end clients using open-source software. Should we hide this from our customers?

Because the scope of capabilities is so wide with Joomla--friendly back-end interface and great look--it's essentially all we use. Open-source to us means value-added product because it's perpetually updated by devoted developers. A bonus is that it's completely free (not including certain plug-ins).

We often wonder whether we should edit certain Joomla links and developers' logos out of the scripting, yet this does not follow the unwritten code of the open-source community.

I have come across competitors who have deleted such logos and badging. Is this truly giving them an edge? Does my product come off as cheap?

To answer this question, I'll borrow a trusty adage from my grandmother, "What you do in the dark will always come to light."

People can be fooled once but not twice--and in this day and age of disgruntled employees airing their employers' dirty laundry, do you really want to hide things from your customers?

The fact is open source is a valuable tool in today's technology world. Why not use your company's use of it as a differentiator and a selling point to show how ahead of the curve you are?

You might also resign yourself to the thought that any clients that can't understand your company's use of open-source platforms isn't the best client for your company after all.

Your product only comes off as cheap if you value it that way. Always remember, you teach people how to treat your brand.

Good luck, I know you'll take the moral and ethical high road,
Lena

Lena West is the CEO and Chief Strategist of xynoMedia Technology, a New York-based firm that helps high-growth companies leverage the power of social media, blogs, podcasts and online communities.

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