Big business better use open source

There was a recent skirmish about open source software in the enterprise regarding a contention that open source is not really used by big business, which was refuted, naturally, by open source vendors. Nevertheless, my experience among not only vendors, but also investors and particularly large enterprise end users, is that open source is typically atop the list of priorities, strategies and options. Granted, I’m an analyst working primarily covering open source software in the enterprise, but I have many conversations with non-open source companies, and the end users with which I speak are focused on open source among many other things.

I wrote about big companies using open source last year, and today I find that most companies, whatever vertical or industry, are leveraging open source software in one way or another, whether infrastructure software and operating systems such as Linux, middleware where we see Apache Tomcat and Red Hat JBoss going strong or applications, where every category has open source options, and most categories have paid, commercial open source options.

I am currently repeating a theme that I came up with when economic conditions were growing the use of open source, including paid use, mission-critical use, production use and, yes, big business use. The theme is this: a few years ago, enterprise organizations might say they were not using open source or did not want to use open source for this reason or that reason, and it was probably accepted as somewhat reasonable. Flash forward to today, and the commercial support and credibility of open source have evolved amid a drive toward open source alternatives from economic conditions. Thus, to say that an organization avoids or bans open source software today is tantamount to saying that organization does not save money, does not do things efficiently and is not progressive. There may be those who continue to believe that the use of open source is still relegated to geeky development or IT operations teams, or that it is limited to test and dev projects, but it has already made inroads into production. Whether the leadership of big business knows it or not may be another matter.

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#1 Shane Curcuru on 01.28.11 at 9:02 am

How can independent, non-profit open source groups do a better job of telling their own stories?

I’m reading your article, and it seems that the people you talk to all have commercial motives: one way or another, it’s for-profit companies trying to succeed. That means that 1) their end profit is the only major goal, and 2) they have vested interests in telling the world what they *think* people want to hear.

How can the actual non-profits behind major open source technologies like Apache better tell their side of the story? Most of the communities that actually build these technologies work in an open and independent manner. This is good in that work is done publicly and issues are typically discussed in a forthright manner. But it sometimes is an issue because it’s hard to get “messaging” out from a widely dispersed community.

#2 Neer on 02.03.11 at 4:11 am

Well, I guess big business just show off using paid softwares and ignoring the open sources. I have some entrepreneur friends who always try to turn ear deaf with the media or individuals, who try to know how they work and what are their benchmark softwares. They use Open source softwares…but just dont try to say it loud like open source is not suitable for their living standard and their impressions on Media.

Like TomCat and Linux…these people are smart enough to make their way of living even after compromising their large time on work as a freebie. They are supportive and I disagree with ‘Shane’ as they are literally able to speak their stories theirselves….Why dont you talk about ‘Android’….Take example of the developers in China and Malaysia….they are innovating the Cellphones Technology and mixing up with Android selling it all over the world. Every body know that they can get a copy of Kindle kind of reader better in china and that too on approximately 20% of the Kindle cost…It is the miracle of opensource.

May be people dont know the use of opensource, may be dont know that somehow they are using it and dont know where they are using it….