Jana Technology Services Blog

November 27, 2006

The Open Source phenomenon

Filed under: Open-Source,Technology — janats @ 2:23 pm

It is fair to say that Open Source is on the verge, if not already, part of the software mainstream, so much so that even conservative IT organisations are investing in open source products and companies.  It is no longer a free, substitute for mainstream software.  It’s growing maturity means that it stand on its own feet and competes head-to-head with commercial offerings.  Good product examples of this are OpeOffice by Sun Microsystems, and The Firefox Browser by Mozilla.

Initial take up of Open Source was limited by a number of factors, but the main one was the issue of accountability and reliability.  Organisations and users feared that they would be left with unifinished or unsupported software.  This has proved not to be the case with business models having sprung up around the support for free, enterprise quality software.  Look no further than JBoss for a good example of this.

So what is Open Source ?  It is best described  as a set of principles and best practices wrapped around a methodlogy for the building and depoyment of software.  A significant emphasis is placed on collaborative development rather than more development methodologies such as the waterfall method of development for example.   The actual term “open source” was coined during a strategy session in Paulo Alto, California in 1998, at an event attended by Linus Torvalds, amongst others.  Of course, open source, also infers that the software is essentially free to use, although the terms of commercial licenses can differ.

Here at Jana, we are a big fan of open source, and there are a variety of products we use and recommend that come under the umbrella of “open source”.  Apart from the common LAMP product set (Linux, Apache, PHP & MySQL), we would urge you to check out SugarCRM and Zimbra, amongst others.

Whereas Open Source may seem a phenomenon right now, in the future it will become a normal part of how companies build and engage with software and software vendors.

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