Your Ultimate Guide to Open-Source Desktop Management

What is Open-Source Desktop Management? What are the pros, cons, and what should you know before opting for one? Also, we've answered if you should really choose to opt for one!


As an MSP, what do you look for when assessing open-source desktop management software? How do you know which one to select? How do you know if the open-source route is correct for you? This article will give you the rundown on the basics, what desktop management software covers, open source versus alternatives, and where to go for help to make it easier. 

What is open-source desktop management software? 

Desktop management software is a set of tools that oversees the management and support of all computer systems within an organization. Typical functionality include: 

  • Release and deployment management 

  • Backup and restore 

  • Dashboards 

  • Service desk management 

  • Patch management 

  • Remote access and support 

Open-source desktop management software is released under a license in which the copyright holder grants users the rights to use, study, change, and distribute the software and its source code for any purpose to anybody; and is typically developed in a collaborative public manner. Put simply, open-source desktop management solutions can be freely used, modified, and shared because their design is publicly accessible.

Why is it needed? 

Desktop management software is a set of tools that oversees the management and support of all organizational computer systems. In a post-pandemic world, many users are still working either entirely remotely or using a hybrid model, so the ability to be able to manage and troubleshoot a device remotely is a significant part of any technical support offering. Benefits of remote desktop management software include:

  • Instant support. Remote support tools enable your IT department to quickly provide support to users when the demand arises. The process is simple; most solutions don’t require installation as the tool operates with the web browser, and there is nothing to uninstall when the session is over. 

  • More effective use of resources. Remote support software can monitor most aspects of a network, making it easy to manage from one central location rather than using manual processes involving multiple support teams and locations. 

  • Better customer experience. Remote support doesn’t disrupt your end user’s day. With no on-site visits and no having to book time away from their desk, remote support has been a game changer for IT and the business alike. 

  • Better knowledge sharing. In a traditional support model, it was easy for support techs to operate in silos. With remote support, the support tech is engaging with the end user, so even though the technician isn’t there in person, they will still be able to talk the user through the fix process and share hints and tips where appropriate.  

What are the benefits of using an open-source solution? 

Open-source software can be a fantastic way of engaging with new technology. As open-source software is often developed in a highly collaborative manner, large forums are usually in place to support the wider user community, so it’s easy to find and share experiences. Other benefits of using open-source software include:

  • Agility. Open source enables technology agility, typically offering multiple ways to accomplish tasks and solve problems. Open source helps reduce blockers because if a particular capability isn’t available, you are not dependent on a third party to deliver that capability; you can create it yourself.

  • Lower software costs. Typically, open-source software is free to use. It can be installed free of charge without any upfront expenses, and you don’t need to use procurement overhead to manage license renewals.

  • Lower hardware costs. Since open-source solutions are easily portable and compressed, it takes less hardware power to carry out the same tasks compared to the hardware power it takes on servers running more traditional software solutions. 

When would it not work? 

Open-source solutions are not a silver bullet and may not be suitable for every environment; some reasons why using open-source software may not be ideal for your organization includes the following:

  • Difficult to use. Some open-source applications may be tricky to set up and use. Others may lack user-friendly interfaces or features that your IT team may be familiar with. This can affect productivity and prevent your team(s) from getting the most out of the software.

  • Compatibility issues. Many types of proprietary hardware need specialized drivers to run open-source programs, often only available from the equipment manufacturer limiting the devices you can use.

  • Hidden costs. Software that is free up-front but later costs money to run can be a significant burden, especially if you haven't considered software costs from the outset. 

  • Security concerns. A big concern around using open-source software is the potential for security risks. As the source code that this software is built upon is free to edit, people can misuse the code. Although most people will improve the software and make it better for everyone, some people will adapt the code with malicious intentions.


  • Desktop management software is a set of tools that oversees the management and support of all organizational computer systems. They can support everything from remote support to patch management.

  • An open-source solution may be right for you if you want a collaborative, low-cost solution and do not want to be bound to a particular vendor.

  • Open-source solutions may not be suitable for you if you work in a highly regulated environment with specific security requirements or if you need a solution to be consistent with the rest of your estate. 

Want to know more about our desktop management software? Book a demo here or start your free trial here. 


Struggle no more with open-source desktop management