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Feature: Open Source

Paylocity saves money developing on Linux

By Tina Gasperson on March 03, 2008 (9:02:00 PM)

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Paylocity provides payroll and human resources outsourcing services for companies that don't want the burden of performing those functions in house. Launched in 1997, is is the brainchild of founder Steve Sarowitz, who was previously a salesperson for other payroll companies. "My accountant said I might want to stop making other people rich and do it myself," Sarowitz says. Paylocity was birthed strictly with a Microsoft infrastructure, but over the last six years, open source has made some inroads on the shop floor.

A new-hire vice president of IT first introduced Sarowitz to the concept. "He was passionate about open source. Prior to that we had no open source software whatsoever. But I trusted him implicitly -- he's one of the most brilliant people I know. If he said it, I believed it." The executive said it would be a good cost-saving measure to introduce Linux on servers in the company's data center environment, so that's what Sarowitz did.

Paylocity recently released WebPay 5.0, a custom Web-based payroll system, which was developed on servers also running Linux. Sarowitz says the switch to Linux in the development and Web-facing area of the company saved Paylocity money, and even though the company is using open source tools like Subversion, Issue Manager, and CruiseControl, Sarowitz is not ready to jump into open source with both feet yet. That's probably why Paylocity's developers used Mono to get .Net running on Linux for coding and testing WebPay.

"We had a choice, in developing our core product, of going with MySQL and Perl or PHP," Sarowitz says. "We'd actually done our prototype in MySQL and it was just fine."

"There was a lot of functionality built into .Net that made it a natural choice," says Paylocity CIO Chuck Cooper. "The ease of use of the development environment made it easier for us to get up to speed -- and to be honest, we have a relationship with Microsoft and so we're able to leverage their technical expertise. In the Java world, you're on your own."

Sarowitz says he tries to be careful about legal issues when using open source. "We're always concerned when we use open source. We want to make sure our proprietary things stay proprietary, so we keep our open source code segregated from our proprietary code."

For Sarowitz, one of the best aspects of using open source is the community. "We're able to leverage it, and it's a great community of developers out there. If you're dealing with an open source product, you want to make sure it has a community behind it. We're interested in being a good citizen."

Sarowitz says if a company wants to begin using open source, it is important to have the right skill set before taking the leap. "You have to have someone on your staff who understands open source. It's a great way to go if you know what you're doing. It's just like anything else. And don't mix open source with proprietary unless you know what you're doing."

Tina Gasperson writes about business and technology from an open source perspective.

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on Paylocity saves money developing on Linux

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.NET on Linux?

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on March 04, 2008 03:56 AM
I would definitely like to hear more about their use of a .NET webapp on Linux. Are they actually using the Mono-based ASP.NET emulation? The Mono framework itself seems to be rather mature but my understanding is that the ASP.NET support is still rather new and not complete. Their site states that 2.0 functionality isn't even finished yet. If they are truly serving ASP.NET pages on Linux for this type of enterprise-level production application, there is much more to this story than what you've touched on! Please let us know more!


security vs drm or double dvd

Posted by: Anonymous [ip:] on March 05, 2008 02:20 AM
If money transactions can be secure, whats the problem with copywrited material transfer. Hears an idea perhaps its available see foot note. Idea: dvd player that has read lamp on top and bottom. This dose the following 1) promotes HD as double sided dvd could be used to play HD from standard disc.(there should be a conversion program that allows a person to load HD from standard dvd if they don't already by storing say an incripted maybe xored interlace that beats against the other side of the dvd to creat a protected playable version). 2) The player could allow two discs to play for a multi-media experience and promote copywriten material use by 3) allowing mash ups of movie and music content were instruction are to play one disc synced with the other. It would be legit because you would need the copywrited original to play the hacked version (altered sound effects or animation or movie set to copywriten music). This could also allow any number of language translations and subtitles including mixing the spoken track against different subtitles. The language feature mite find suport from governments promoting education through passive learning giving movie producers an extra source of income. Like using strings in music arangements. Foot note: HD production is promoted while standard media delivery is being decided so HD products can simply be reformated for the chosen media. Also if it is not already standard a conversion program to convert HD to standard and other palm and cell screens may be handy.


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