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November, 2011

Open source: twice the value

I wanted to share this article, even though it doesn't directly involve FreeDOS. CIO Magazine recently ran an article about open source software, "Twice the Value" by Maria Korolov. The article discusses the trend of companies to release software using a dual license: open source, and proprietary.

From the article:

Some software buyers deliberately seek out such dual-licensed software. David Bragg, CIO of the Navy’s Naval Safety Center, says that dual-licensed software can be more secure, more customizable and cheaper than software that’s available only in proprietary form.

“At the Department of Defense, we certainly take security seriously,” he says. “The nice thing about open source is you get to see the code. It allows you to assess the software for security issues.”

Being able to open the hood also allows his team to modify the software if they need to. For example, when his team first rolled out software from Jaspersoft, a little tweaking was needed to integrate it with the agency’s security access cards.

… The naval center opted for the commercial license to get professional support and patching—but also to ensure that Jaspersoft stays in business so it can continue to support the product.
While I generally do not recommend individual developers go with a dual-license (unless you have a lawyer on hand to explain the details to you) it is interesting to see a major magazine like CIO, which is targeted at C-level executives, giving such an encouraging review to using open source software in a business setting.

The myths of open source software

I uncovered this interesting article from CIO Magazine's archives. "The Myths of Open Source" by M. Wheatley clearly presents (and dismisses) these top myths of using free / open source software (FOSS). In the general interest of helping to dispel some common myths, I thought I'd share the article highlights here:

  1. The attraction is the price tag, or the savings aren't real (Wrong!)
  2. There's no support (Wrong!)
  3. It's a legal minefield (Wrong!)
  4. It isn't for mission-critical applications (Wrong!)
  5. It isn't ready for the desktop (Wrong!)
But at the end of the day, how a company approaches free / open source software depends on the attitude of that organization. Paraphrasing from the article: Companies that work collaboratively with other organizations stand to gain much more from open source. Since the article was first published in 2004, we have already seen increased adoption of free / open source software. The most popular application stack is "LAMP", or "Linux + Apache + MySQL + PHP (or sometimes Perl)". Facebook and other major web applications rely on LAMP to support their business.

And while the first myth was about price, I believe we'll continue to see more "wins" for free / open source software as IT budgets continue to tighten. It may not be about price, but the low costs and big savings are hard to ignore.