These were some of the questions asked by Amandeep, a New Delhi based owner of a small scale clothing company, when I pitched to him a few open source solutions that could make his day-to-day operations more efficient. For someone without any IT background (but a sharp business sense), these were brilliant and relevant questions. The answers to these questions won't just help Amandeep, but if shared broadly may help reduce the apprehension of a significant number of small scale business owners, especially in India. My interactions have shown that a lot of these businesses are looking to grow, enhance their productivity, and most importantly, save costs.
Linphone was the first open source software to use the session initiation protocol (SIP) with VoIP. The open software has voice, video and messaging features that can be used with any SIP VoIP operator. And because of its open source nature, it can be distributed for free.
Red Hat, the Linux operating system company, pioneered the original open source business model. Red Hat gives away open source software for free but charges a support fee to those customers who rely on Red Hat for maintenance, support, and installation. As revenue began to roll into Red Hat, a race began among startups to develop an open source offering for each proprietary software counterpart and then wrap a Red Hat-style service offering around it. Companies such as MySQL, XenSource, SugarCRM, Ubuntu, and Revolution Analytics were born in this rush toward open source.
Red Hat is a fantastic company, and a pioneer in successfully commercializing open source. However, beyond Red Hat the effort has largely been a failure from a business standpoint. Consider that the “support” model has been around for 20 years, and other than Red Hat there are no other public standalone companies that have been able to offer an alternative to their proprietary counterpart. When you compare the market cap and revenue of Red Hat to Microsoft or Amazon or Oracle, even Red Hat starts to look like a lukewarm success. The overwhelming success of Linux is disproportionate to the performance of Red Hat. Great for open source, a little disappointing for Red Hat.
The hits keep coming as yesterday CIO published an article detailing seven reasons not to use open source. It would be easy to list, line by line, exactly where the author was wrong, but doing so would be very similar behavior to what I was talking about a few days ago, when I advocated for taking the high road when it came to online flame wars. So, instead, I'm going to focus on seven reasons you should use open source software in your business.
While employment reports continue to roll in with mixed results, there is one pocket of the job market that looks bright, and that's the market for people with open source skills. As we've reported numerous times, many companies are leveraging everything from Linux to Hadoop for cutting-edge, mission-critical tasks, and people with skills in these areas are not just getting jobs, they are getting good jobs.
Now, according to new reports from technology and open source industry leaders, managers are actively advising job seekers to contribute to open source projects.
A group of five Danish municipalities are making available as open source KITOS, their IT project management solution, announces OS2, the Danish online community for public administrations and open source. The solutions will be web-based, letting municipalities manage their IT projects, systems and contracts.
The year 2013 continued the trend of the increasing importance of legal issues for the Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) community. FOSS projects have increased from 900,000 in 2012 to 1,000,000 in 2013, according to Black Duck Software.
Last year, I provided a look at the top legal issues from the year before. Continuing with this tradition, here is my take on the top ten legal developments in FOSS during 2013.
Marcus Hanwell is a physicist by training, but his background in science led him down a different path than most reseachers. Today he is a contributer to a number of open source projects aimed at helping the scientific community better analyze and visualize their data. If you've got a question about finding the right open source tool for a scientific application, Marcus can point you in the right direction.
At Opensource.com, Marcus is a member of the Community Moderator program. He writes about everything from specific tools to open access of scientific publications to event recaps. You might also find him in the comments helping drive discussion.
TYPO3gem, the user group of Dutch municipalities using the TYPO3 content management system, is becoming a model for other groups of public administrations using open source solutions, according to a study published by the Open Source Observatory and Repository last week. Examples include the group of towns using Drupal, an alternative content management system, and a number of municipalities using zaaksysteem.nl, a case management solution.