Open source: a remedy for IT recession

Recession, job cuts, IT budgets slashed…surely now’s the time to think smart, and use free or open source products to drive through new IT projects? For certain applications, I think open source is a viable alternative to commercial software. It’s not very good as a replacement for Windows and MS Office, because end users generally don’t like change, and I believe enterprise support for Linux desktop is much more expensive than Windows.

But on the server side, where we don’t have to worry about end users, why not use open source products? Open source products exist for almost every niche in business software. However, many people, even senior IT directors and managers, seem to associate open source with Linux. Some believe the open source products lag behind commercial software. Open source is a way of deferring payment for a software product until it is actually deployed. You can build a proof of concept, show the business case…you only need to pay when you need enterprise support.

Given the budget pressures we all face, surely now is the time to consider using open source alternatives?

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Wrong on so many levels you made me laugh

PS have you seen this?

Open source software will be adopted "when it delivers best value for money", the government said. It added that public services should where possible avoid being "locked into proprietary software".

So what's your take?

It’s clear that the open source model has gone from strength to strength – take the mobility space as a great example. There are many factors for this, but the impact of the current economic climate should certainly not be underestimated.

By opening up their mobile platforms, organisations like Apple and Google are enabling application developers from all over the world to get involved and compete for revenues, thus prices can remain competitive. From an organisational viewpoint, applications that are capable of doubling the productivity of a 3,000 strong mobile workforce in the midst of the recession are like gold dust – even more so when you can test a solution before establishing payment.

At a time when people all across the board are feeling the pinch, open source growth of this nature can only be a good thing for businesses.

Rikke Helms, Dexterra

Hi Rikki. I agree. When I began writing about open source, CIOs and IT directors were concerned about stability ofn open source code and lack of support. I don't think peope's perceptions have changed, but open source is mature, support is readily available from major suppliers and the collaborative model of open source develoment is being copied by commercial software houses, becuase it's more effcient than in-house development. I think people still don't understand that open source doesn't mean "free".

According to Wikipedia, freeware is copyrighted computer software which is made available for use free of charge, for an unlimited time, as opposed to shareware where the user is required to pay (e.g. after some trial period or for additional functionality). Authors of freeware often want to "give something to the community", but also want credit for their software and to retain control of its future development. Sometimes when programmers decide to stop developing a freeware product, they will give the source code to another programmer or release the product's source code to the public as free software.