Open Source Software
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|Open Source Software - Origins||Open Source Software - Opportunity||Open Source Software - Advantages|
According to a survey of information technology executives and business managers performed by CIO.com, 53% of organizational enterprise is already using open source software. Approximately 80% of an IT budget is used for standard operations and 30% of that budget goes directly into paying the salaries of employees performing routine maintenance. Given the requirement to streamline budget, there are less discretionary funds and capital for investment in hardware and software technology. IT management is increasingly turning to open source software to address this issue.
Open source software is not an all or nothing decision; it can be utilized in hybrid combinations with commercial software.
Open Source Software - Origins
The Open Source Initiative was founded in the late 1990's and is an innovative, community-enabled model for creating quality software based on widely accepted industry standards. The foundation of open source software distributed under the GPL: General Public License is that any organization or person that releases code into the market under that designation places no restrictions on its use. Open source software is available free or at minimal cost.
The Open Data Center Alliance is a collection of more than 300 companies which together represent over $100 billion in annual information technology spending which promotes open standards and shared information.
The bottom up grass roots nature of open source has led advocates to view the projects as a populist foil to commercial software, where a company keeps the inner workings of its applications secret. Commercial vendors have built for-profit businesses around open source products.
The three most common business models are:
|Charging for enterprise-class support of the free software.|
|Offering specialized enterprise versions of the open source software which provide significantly enhanced functionality, commercial support packages, and management tools.|
|Providing the software free of charge; but selling the underlying hardware.|
Open source software has thrived and played a prominent role in the building of the Internetís infrastructure. Many companies rely on Linux-based computers and Apache web server software to display their web pages. Similarly, the Mozilla Firefox web browser has emerged as the most formidable competitor to Microsoft Internet Explorer.
Open source projects have also been used by dominant information technology companies to shape markets in their own best interest.
Google provided financial support to the nonprofit Mozilla Foundation, which oversees the development of Firefox.
IBM has been a major backer of Linux, helping to raise it as a competitor to Microsoft Windows and other commercial operating systems.
Companies like IBM, Google, Oracle, and Intel pay developers top salaries to work on open source projects in order to promote their own strategic objectives.
There are reports that Microsoft is developing a new database for the Linux and UNIX based platform which is being built on the open source PostgreSQL 9.0 code base. The database would be available free of charge and distributed under a Ms-PL: Microsoft Public License.
Hewlet Packcard will be open sourcing its webOS operating system. HP acquired webOS from Palm and has been trying to recoup its investment after its failure in the smartphone and tablet market. The open source webOS would provide hardware companies with a way to diversify and reduce their dependence on the Google Android operating system. HP could then revamp webOS while having a fallback position.
Major acquisitions in which an information technology company has bought an up-and-coming open source company include:
|Java by Oracle Corporation||
MySQL by Sun Microsystems and
subsequently Oracle Corporation
|SpringSource by VMware||XenSource by Citrix|
Open Source Software - Opportunity
Open source software is being increasingly evaluated by organizational enterprise as an alternative to commercial software: affordability, performance, and usability. The strategic objective is to utilize open source software for improving the efficiency of IT infrastructure and innovating for competitive advantage. In order to ensure competition in the marketplace, the governments in different parts of the world are imposing regulations in accordance with their national agenda in order to ensure that there is an open source alternative to the major commercial software products.
Open source software has reached a level of maturity and acceptance, where it has become a standard practice as part of product evaluations to compare open source applications with commercial solutions.
|Open Source Stack||Popular Implementations - Open Source Software|
Office Suite Applications
|Operating System: UNIX- and Linux-variants|
Web Servers and Scripting
Open Source Software - Advantages
Proponents advocate the use of open source software for the following reasons:
|Avoid Vendor Lock-in||Open source software is built on standard technologies and offers interoperability with commercial software. This can serve to mitigate being held captive to license and maintenance contract price increases from commercial software vendors.|
|Commodity Hardware||The use of commodity hardware rather than commercial machines represents a significant cost saving. Both the initial outlay for base systems and hardware maintenance will be less expensive. Architecture independence allows software to be transferred across physical systems.|
|Innovation||There are parties in the open source community working to refine and expand the functionality of open source software. Upgrades, patches, and bug fixes are typically released faster that commercial software.|
|Security||In many cases, open source software will be more secure than commercial software and fewer remedial activities and resources will be needed to keep systems and data safe.|
|Value||Since development costs are shared by a community of parties, open source software will be less expensive than commercial software.|