Open Source Software and Linux

Oct 9 2008   1:15AM GMT

Open Source products that add to the bottom line

John Little Profile: Xjlittle

I have often wondered when the thought processes of people would shift from equating Linux and Open Source as one and the same. I need not wonder any longer as that time is here. And this is a good thing.

In the past people, more often than not, spoke of Linux and Open Source in a way that would lead one to believe that they are one and the same. Until a year or two ago this was probably true as most open source applications were only available on Linux. Now though, open source applications are standing on their own and are becoming known as Open Source applications not Linux applications.

Kudos to the developers for causing this shift. Why? The open source developers, unlike Windows developers, are creating cross platform applications that will either run on Windows or run Windows software. They are doing this at breakneck speed as well. It is easy to understand why when you look at the economic business models of open source.

The business models of open source generate revenue by selling update and support services as opposed to selling licenses. It is the nature of open source to not sell licenses as the source code is open. There would be no point in it.

Now take a look at the economy. It’s not rocket science to see that spending, even IT spending, is slowing down. Now, if I have a product that I will let you have for free and even give you the choice of whether or not to by updates and service with it, and it will run on Windows or Linux, what are you going to do? Go buy the Windows only application with all of it’s license fees plus the annual “maintenance” fee that is 20% of the original license fee? Only if you don’t have the sense God gave a baboon.

I’ll give you some examples of open source applications that fill the need for productive and secure applications that can be done at an open source cost.

Vyatta open source routers. From their website: “Vyatta solutions combine the features, performance, and reliability of an enterprise router and firewall with the cost savings, flexibility, and security of open source to introduce new levels of economics, choice, and control into the network.”. If you interpret “enterprise router and firewall” as Cisco or HP you are probably right on the money. No pun intended.

How about Jitterbit open source integration software? Jitterbit handles integration of data between heterogeneous applications so that the information is combined. With a customer list that includes NASA and Continental Airlines who would think that they shouldn’t use open source software?

There are many others out there including Alfresco that competes with Microsoft’s Sharepoint to the point of integrating with Microsoft Office and offering shared drives. Take the Zimbra Collaboration Suite that has seamless compatibility with clients like Microsoft Outlook, Apple desktop suite, and Mozilla Thunderbird, add in the connectors for Blackberry, Smartphone and Alfresco and you have a collaboration suite that rivals any on the market for functionality and beats them on cost whether or not you purchase their services.

So given today’s economy and the fact the company needs to generate a profit to keep from laying off people, I believe you should strongly consider what open source has to offer.

-j

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