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?