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Financial firms urged to look into open source

Financial services companies have been urged to look at how open source technologies could be used in areas of the business where it is unnecessary to develop software internally.

Presenting at the Linux on Wall Street conference in New York, Jeremy Lehman, chief software architect for global equities at Citigroup, urged businesses to find and extend the use of open source software within the ­trading environment, where the technology could be applied horizontally across industries.

Lehman said open source offered investment banks an alternative approach to implementing IT systems. Rather than buying or building a new system, he said open source gave users the option to extend an existing system.

Open source software also offered an alternative to developing software using the Java 2.0 Enterprise Edition specification, he said.

The other main benefit, according to Lehman, was that open source technology provided the “easiest migration from proprietary Unix”.

Larry Tabb, chief executive at financial technology advisory ­organisation Tabb Group, said, “Do not be afraid of open source software. Leverage what is available and contribute to the pool.”

He said using open source would benefit financial houses because there was a large community of people testing, vetting and fixing problems with the software. In addition, operating systems could be optimised for the trading environment.

Tabb said open source software  also enabled greater control of the server operating system, which made it easier to customise systems to meet business requirements.


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