Sunday, August 20, 2006

The real impact of open source

The open source movement will change the world - well at least part of the world. The challenge is figuring out which part.

Evan Tishuk at OrangeCoat forwarded a link to an interesting article, The real impact of open source.

The punch line is:
The real impact of open source is to sustain innovations in mature software markets, thus extending the useful life of software assets and saving customers money.
I think that's right. Open source software is changing the world. SwampFox.ws is built on the open source package, WordPress.

But open source has its limitations too. Having a dedicated group of volunteers writing software collaboratively is definitely not a way to do innovative, mission critical applications.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think the best example of enterprise-grade open source development is the Linux operating system. Linux is developed not just by hackers and freelance developers, but also by code donations by IBM and HP, for example. These companies literally pay their developers to write open source software.

Both companies can benefit from open source greatly by unbridling themselves from MS. Meanwhile, the entire world benefits, whether HP clients or not, from having a stable operating system.

Google is also doing its part, paying many developers on the company dime to work on open source. Google benefits by being able to deploy between half a million and a million servers (per recent Fortune article) without having to pay a per-CPU license. The savings are drastic.

I believe that as open source is embraced by the SMB community, which is still a ways off, you'll see the amount of useful code that is able to be customized, used out of the box, or changed completely will increase at an amazing pace.

Drew Nichols, ValueTech

Swamp Fox said...

Drew

No question you're right that there is a big difference in open source capabilities when it is supported by companies like IBM and HP.

Here's another example. The Firefox browser is developed in an open source manner by Mozilla Corporation, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Mozilla Foundation, which had start-up support from America Online's Netscape division.

Bill Gates is in the bull's eye of a lot of well supported open source development. When you're king of the hill everyone wants to knock you off.