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The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

Open Source Impacts Traditional Software Suppliers

Michael Goulde
Monday, November 17, 2008
Michael Goulde
All around the world, a growing number of companies are finding more uses of open source software in their businesses. What began as edge of network and infrastructure applications has spread throughout the middleware stack and today includes business applications as well. Customers have many reasons for switching from proprietary products to open source products and not the least of those reasons is to save money.
This fact has not gone unnoticed among traditional suppliers of software, integration, consulting, and support services. The challenge for these traditional vendors has been to find ways to accommodate open source software into their existing business strategies.

Open source changes (almost) everything
First, to state the obvious, there are multiple dimensions to open source and strategically each dimension calls for a different response.

Open source is a development methodology: Community development is one of the biggest benefits of open source, bringing in contributions from many different directions. Traditional software products include software from different sources, but that code is licensed and not contributed. Becoming open to an outside community will require deep cultural change.

Open source is an approach of sales and distribution: Open source software is freely available, which usually translates to anyone being able to download the software and use it without notifying the project or supplier. This leads to very large download numbers, with little or no effort. Converting those downloads to paying customers will require new strategies and new skills.

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