Open Source

Is open source the right model for your company's applications?

Open-source software has matured over the past few years and has made a lot of inroads into virtually all types of businesses.

Open-source software has matured over the past few years and has made a lot of inroads into virtually all types of businesses. Some of the most secure businesses are banks, as a result of them having what everyone wants most, which is namely money. Open-source software helps some banks stay competitive by giving them a platform that allows them to innovate. One of the speakers at the Linux on Wall Street conference had this to say:

According to a managing director at the Bank of New York Mellon, open source is not about commodification. That's the pedestrian role served by proprietary software. Instead, open-source software is about innovation and competitive differentiation.

Open source is the new innovation platform (News.com)

Open-source software can help fledgling companies enter the market with new products and services by removing the barriers to entry, according to Sun founder Scott McNealy. Open source's low cost also intrigues companies exploring Software as a Service (SaaS) offerings. However, one of the biggest boons to the open-source movement is the pure amount of money flowing to new companies through venture capital firms.

Sun founder extols open source for government (Federal Computer Week)

Open source a no-brainer for SaaS providers (Infoworld)

VC Funds Pour Into Commercial Open Source (Information Week)

While open-source software can give some businesses a competitive advantage, there are many businesses that simply do not have the expertise to make such a transition. Supporting open-source software requires a skillset that many small and medium-sized businesses just don't have, given their small IT departments. Many times, the ease of administration of Microsoft platforms is just what the doctor ordered, especially since finding people with experience and training in that environment is easier and less costly. I am training my replacement since I am about to start a new job, and this training would be far more complex if I had to teach him Linux in addition to Microsoft administration. How much open source do you run and, for context, what industry are you in?

5 comments
Jaqui
Jaqui

For most general purpose offices, open source will meet the needs perfectly. The segment of the IT field that isn't capable of working with open source really needs to learn it, they are limiting themselves for no valid reason. As someone starting up a web hosting service, I will only implement open source solutions where possible. [ sorry, but for most people the open source controls for website hosting accounts are not easy enough to use, so I'll have CPANEL implemented. http://www.cpanel.net even though it is proprietary. ] I'll also have the Fantastico script installer implemented, another non-free bit of software. http://www.netenberg.com/fantastico.php otherwise, it is 100% open source.

BALTHOR
BALTHOR

I run my company and IBM takes care of my computer system.I'm not touching a thing.

brad
brad

Our company is very small (we don't even qualify for FMLA benefits), yet we use Open Source software for all business, including scheduling, e-mail, browsers, bug/defect tracking, project management, etc... We also evaluate open source software to incorporate into our own products. Our software developers, of which I am one, provide technical support not only for our internal business applications, but also for the products we design, develop, and deploy. We run a mixed bag of open source and proprietary software. Doing so requires a lot of knowledge and the capacity to learn more and do more to accomplish the same thing another "Microsoft" office can accomplish within the same amount of time.

Andy Moon
Andy Moon

I am in education and our IT department has been allowed to shrink through attrition over the past few years. The result has predictaby been more work spread over fewer workers, putting our time at a premium and leaving us very little time to pursue open source solutions. How much open source do you run and is there anything about your industry that makes it particularly well suited for open source?

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

It would be very hard to envision what we do as a service as essentially we supply tools to others to provide a service. It doesn't stop us using open source, MySQL for instance, or potentially committing to some open standards, but the business would have to reconceptualise to go to an open source model, effectively we would have to steal our current customers' customers....

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