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back to article Open source: a savvy bet, even in tough times

Even as the economy slouches its way toward another bout of recession, the software industry has been in comparatively rude health. Earnings across the board have been impressive and, as a recent SIIA and OPEXEngine study (warning: PDF) shows, software companies are returning to robust profitability after years of red ink. In …

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Linux

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"Still not convinced that open source offers a better way to build a business? Consider revenue growth rates for public and private companies over the past few years, according to these OPEXEngine benchmarks, below."

Yes, wouldn't mind looking at it if it were linked to a larger image one can actually read.

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Pint

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Yes , me too AC!

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50% of Nothing is Nothing

I am a big advocate of Open Source software. But without actual sales figures your article makes no sense. Just quoting percentage growth figures is just plain useless. A relatively small company with a few million or a few hundred million in revenue can experience high percentage growth, even 100% over an extended period. But this cannot be considered significant if their share of the industry revenue is minimal.

Just quoting percentages without mention the actual revenue figures is just plain misuse of statistics.

Reminds me of a quote from one of my former bosses. "Statistics is like a bikini. What it shows is interesting but what it does not show is desirable..."

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748 Million Dollars is Nothing ??

Redhat Revenues for the last four years:

748.24M 652.57M 523.02M 400.62M

http://investors.redhat.com/financials-statements.cfm

Not exactly nothin.. Not exactly tiny growth...

Certainly that is tiny as compared to MS or Oracle, but Redhat clearly approaches the same league as these companies. They have a broad product line (OS, compilers, applications servers, databases, browsers, debuggers (admittedly as part of a larger FOSS movement) ) and they have built a very strong reputation in large corporations, including the Tokio and Frankfurt Stock Exchanges.

Redhat Linux is considered rock-solid, and it is the default for corporate Linux users. in large-scale applications, Linux is already the dominating operating system. Other Unixes, MVS and Windows Server are all either legacy or irrelevant. Windows Server only matters where the there are not enough skilled sysadmins and/or programmers available. Small-scale stuff, generally.

I personally don't like Alfresco, but it certainly is an option to consider as MS Sharepoint has a very hefty price tag attached. Free crap like MySQL made it big-time, so why shouldn't Alfresco ?

Alfresco might only be important as a trailblazer for FOSS document management, as much as MySQL paved the way for Postgres. Someobody else will be able to create something more coherent based on Samba, Lucene or Xapian, Apache, Postgres and Python.

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You missed the point completely.

Title said it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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FAIL

Ignorance should not be mixed with prejudice in public

"Other Unixes, MVS and Windows Server are all either legacy or irrelevant. Windows Server only matters where the there are not enough skilled sysadmins and/or programmers available. Small-scale stuff, generally."

Let me stop you there without engaging your prejudice directly by simply saying that I have personal experience of globe spanning windows systems, so your assertion fails in basis of fact. This is what happens when you imagine the world is precisely as you wish it to be rather than as it is, or when in fact you have no actual experience of what you are talking about.

You may also be interested to know that PostgreSQL predates MySql by (at least) five years, and has generally had quite a lead in terms of features.

If you're going to wave your geekWang around and pretend to be a big swinging unix dick, you need some facts to bolster your prejudice. And a beard.

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Postgres, MySQL

What I meant to say is that MySQL "legitimized" the use of Postgresql in the corporate world. MySQL had a great marketing machine to sell something crappy. Now people realize they can use an open source database and Postgresql is the better technology.

Regarding your Windows system - what is it doing ? A large set of Exchange servers running in a corporate ActiveDirectory Domain ? Attached to a large number of big file servers maybe ?

Or is it a complex, custom system running a stock exchange ? Is it running SAP ? I guess it's not.

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Bzzzt! That's the fail buzzer.

"What I meant to say is that MySQL "legitimized" the use of Postgresql in the corporate world. MySQL had a great marketing machine to sell something crappy. Now people realize they can use an open source database and Postgresql is the better technology."

No. Know how I know this ? Because I was prototyping corporate SaaS systems built on PostrgreSQL long before the web kiddies started beating their chests about MySQL.

"Regarding your Windows system - what is it doing ?"

Systems. Plural. But to pick just one : running a multinational pharmaceutical company's entire operation from document management, through mail, through ERP, through warehouse and logistics through monitoring and real time production in factories.

You need to get a dose of reality here and understand that some very large shops run end to end MS kit.

"Or is it a complex, custom system running a stock exchange ? Is it running SAP ? I guess it's not."

I bet you've got the slashdot post about the LSE switch to Linux printed out - with all the comments - and hanging on the wall of your room at your mummy's house, probably all neatly arranged around your candle-lit Stallman shrine. But then again, Direct Edge, Karachi, Bovespa.

You seem to be under the impression that there are no large volume trading systems that aren't based on Linux, once again if we compare your imagination with reality we see there are some large differences.

Linux is unquestionably a good OS and has scored some seriously impressive real world wins, and I have no doubt that it will continue to do so, but your assertion that MS does not, can not, and will not play in these same markets simply doesn't hold up to examination.

And by the way, you do know that you can run SAP on Windows ? With SQL Server as a backing store ? You knew that right ?

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LSE - Didn't They Bomb With .Net ?

I am very familiar with Stock Exchange Tech as I worked on that. AFAIK know, LSE had big trouble with a .net soluation hacked up in India.

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Bronze badge

Kable reports

"Francis Maude has said that when costs are similar, the government will buy open source rather than proprietary software."

http://www.kable.co.uk/open-source-government-prefers-francis-maude-15sep10

This is going in the right direction, but it still omits to take into account the effect on local economies. Although rarely evidenced, the argument usually goes that (closed source) proprietary software ends up being less expensive because the costs of support are lower.

In fact, even if the overall costs were the same there could be a significant benefit from using open source. A greater proportion of expenditure would be local and would thus provide a local stimulus to the economy. In addition, though planners don't usually pay much heed, long-term costs could be reduced through the use of standard and accessible data formats.

But at least Mr Maude seems to have listened to advisers. Maybe the efforts of David Villanueva Nuñez were not in vain.

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preaching to the choir

Most of the people on here that rail against open source are not the decision makers that look at ROI. Most seem to be hack parochial MSCEs that are scared about having to learn new technology (I might actually have to use a command line, OMFG!). As you can see from lack of posts they tend to skip articles like this that don't directly mention M$ and their skill set becoming irrelevant.

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Monkey nuts

While it may indeed be true that the average MCSE is little better than a trained monkey, and often much less entertaining, a freetard calling an MS pro 'parochial' is keyboard destroyingly funny.

And don't get your little linuxy frillies in a twist, MS have enough market share that they aren't going anywhere for quite a while.

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confused

confused. The author seems to tout open source as being able to do more with less and stuff, which is true in a lot of areas. Where my confusion goes is the choice between using the commercially-backed open source(e.g. red hat) where you pay the subscription($349-749/server on the low end) or if you go the truly "free" route, which of course saps much needed revenue from those companies trying to capitalize on open source.

I know there's a balance in there somewhere, but as someone who has been using open source for 15 years now in my daily personal+professional life (yes even on my laptop), I do wish more organizations would support the movement more, the easiest way to support open source is to subscribe to the various services these companies(e.g. red hat) are providing. Participating in the community directly is just as good but takes a lot more time and it seems only a tiny minority of the users actually do it.

I suppose the growing revenues of the likes of red hat is a good sign, but it is of course a tiny tiny tiny fraction of those benefiting from the development that goes on that do not pay a dime. Imagine where we would be if the ratio was different, even at lower prices (made up with higher volumes).

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Grenade

Yeah?

Surprise me with high growth from low base...

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Poor quality, total costs high

I've talked with some engineers I know at amazon, and it's by no means obvious that open source is a good idea. You get low quality software and will spend a lot of money hiring people to keep it working, patched, fixed, etc.

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Asbestos pants handy then ?

"You get low quality software"

Oh I'm going to enjoy the FOSS massive spitting it's dummy over that, but it is largely true, I actually use a lot of FOSS bits n bobs and I constantly see code that would never pass QA in grown up software development.

It isn't universal though, and curiously enough some of the projects that achieve consistently high quality are the ones that have a commercial model, because as you rightly say ...

"and will spend a lot of money hiring people to keep it working, patched, fixed, etc."

The ROI tradeoff is exactly the same as it would be with closed source, is it cheaper to do it here or be a customer amongst many sharing the costs of development.

So basically commercial FOSS is competing on price and quality, with openness being largely irrelevant, and if FOSS shops can do it cheaper or better because they can exploit useful idiots who will work for free then they win. Obviously this is much nicer than the horrid proprietary capitalist pig dogs.

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