The West Midlands Open Source Software Centre, set up with £4.5m of funding from regional development agency Advantage West Midlands, aims to give small businesses more flexibility in their software decisions.
The innovative approach is likely to be followed by others around the country, said Peter Abrahams, integration infrastructure practice leader at Bloor Research.
"The idea of offering local businesses access to this sort of information is very important. There is a lot of interest in open source out there but concerns remain about its use," he said.
Many small businesses and public sector organisations are unaware of the benefits of open source software, according to Stuart Webb, IT cluster manager at Advantage West Midlands.
"The centre intends to overcome this by creating a wider understanding of the software and by matching the needs of business with software capabilities," he said.
"Without the centre, regional businesses will miss the opportunity to cut the costs of business and service delivery and many other benefits created by a more diverse software development environment."