I think it was in 1996 that the Crystal Reports part of my business took the lead over the R&R Report Writer part. Every since then I have been looking out for the next tool to take the lead. So I like to stay exposed to the alternatives to the Crystal Reports product line. With that in mind I found an interesting article comparing Pentaho and JasperSoft as alternatives to the Business Objects and Oracle product lines. These are not so much competitors to stand-alone Crystal Reports, but are more comparable to the server level tools like CR Server or BO Enterprise. Both Pentaho and JasperSoft offer a free ‘open source’ version as well as a commercial version, which makes them appealing to small businesses. Of course the cost of the software is only part of the equation and you have to factor in the time it takes to install and configure these tools, and the overhead to maintain them. I find that very few of my customers need ‘full stack’ solutions like these. I just like to stay informed.