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The Open Source Enterprise: Its Time Has Come
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Written by Gizmo   
Monday, 17 November 2008 22:44

By Charles Babcock
InformationWeek
November 15, 2008 12:02 AM (From the November 17, 2008 issue)

In an economic slowdown that's getting worse, open source matters, now more than ever. Only it's not in the way you think. Downloading "free" software has never been all that great a path to budget savings for most companies, given all the hidden costs that came with it.

Read the full story at InformationWeek:

What open source has long promised, and is only starting to deliver consistently to business, is an alternative both cheaper and more effective than proprietary code. Open source code still can't touch the scope of proprietary suites, but it's closing the technology gap. And being lightweight can be its own advantage, rather than throwing ever-more software and servers at a problem. With its transparent and standards-based development, open source code can cut the complexity and risk of custom coding for integration or niche needs.

And those hidden costs? The time it takes to vet a new piece of open source code, to nurture in-house experts who can test and integrate it, to negotiate solid technical support? It's getting easier for companies to get through all that, as open source code is no longer relegated to the fringe of the data center, running a few stray Web applications. Over just the last two years, open source has gone from illegal alien to full-blooded IT citizen. Think of the barriers to open source use that have faded in just the past year or two.

In intellectual property, all the noise about the illegitimacy of open source, how Microsoft found its code in Linux and other open source projects, has withered. Microsoft partnered with Novell, and skilled programmers within Microsoft's own ranks pointed out how much open source code is developed on Windows, and how much open source code interoperates with Windows. And everyone saw how, if Windows Server 2008 is to have a place in the data center, it will have to work with open source code. Proprietary software companies from Citrix to IBM to Sun proved their faith in community-built code by buying open source vendors.

 
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