I have not heard open source talked about in a LONG time. I really
think social media (namely Twitter and Facebook) have consumed much of
the “media ink”.
Open source developers make their money from companies hiring them to install or customize the software.
One reason we have been hearing less about open source is that due
to the rise of hosted applications, “software” is really a moot point –
it’s not really relevant. Of course in a discussion of servers and cell
phones, open source applications to power these devices (including
cars, consumer devices and appliances, it is still quite relevant).
In the interview below I spoke with Eric Mandel, CEO of web host and managed services provider BlackMesh Inc’s about open source.
What is open source?
Most businesses are familiar with commonly used software, such as
products by Microsoft, Oracle and Intuit. This software is proprietary,
meaning the source code is not available to the public and the
copyright holder retains all of its rights, including the right to
charge for software, which most do. In contrast, open source generally
refers to software that redistributes its source code, which gives the
user certain rights which typically are reserved for the copyright
holder. Examples of open source software include Linux and most of the
tools that run on it, the Firefox browser, the Thunderbird email
client, and OpenOffice, a free replacement for Microsoft Office. The
Firefox browser is the most popularly used open source application and
is often considered a more secure alternative to Microsoft’s Internet
Has open source changed from what it was 5 years or 10 years ago to today?
Open source has matured greatly over the last decade as businesses
have shown an open source model can be profitable. Many businesses now
thrive in the open source ecosystem, providing and using services from
ERP and CRM to disaster recovery and email that are based on open
Early adoption was driven mostly by philosophical and practical
reasons. The practical driving force was that people needed software
they could customize and there were no commercial offerings that met
their needs, while the philosophical drivers were mostly academic
institutions releasing their own source code. Today, open source
technologies have matured to the point that the most practical reason
to use them is the cost and its impact on bottom line.
Open source is not only seeing increased popularity on the
commercial side, but also within the government. For example, the Obama
administration is using the open source content management system
Drupal to deliver its promise of transparency through web sites such as
http://recovery.gov and http://usaspending.gov. In addition, a new
advocacy group, Open Source for America
(http://www.opensourceforamerica.org/), was recently created to help
teach the federal government about open source’s benefits and advocate
for open source’s adoption.
Why open source