Open source : a revolution in the software industry ?

Author(s) : Salvino A. Salvaggio

Bibliographic Details : Brussels: research report

Date of Publication : 2004

Executive Summary :
1. Any software whose code is available for users to look at, modify, reuse and redistribute freely can be called "Open Source Software" (OSS). There are however some differences between OSS and free software regarding mostly users’ duties and intellectual property rules
2. The phenomenon of OSS is not new : at the beginning, programmers, not software, were core later on, rights of usage became a way to earn money. However, some programmers called for a return to the public sharing of software. Then Linux came...
3. Production of OSS happens according to a self-regulated, decentralized organization that gave OSS development unique opportunities while a new approach of collaborative work improved the sustainability of the project and made it able to impact key economic levers
4. Linux hype cycle has been guided, among others, by perception of PROs and CONs. Recently, perceived benefits of OSS seem overtaking barriers and increase its appeal to businesses. As a matter of fact, global comparison highlights real advantage to OSS. It is therefore not a surprise that finding evidences of OSS as a technologically and financially viable solution is becoming quite easy
5. Compared to vendors’ closed source software OSS secures huge IT investment savings, and total Return On Investment is highly attractive. Additionally, OSS users are empowered, for they do not depend anymore on vendors’ decisons
6. OSS users' satisfaction is likely to foster a viral effect of adoption as evolution of OSS market share also shows
7. With OSS, the concept of vendors is disappearing. Shifts in vendors’ revenue streams trigger deep changes in the culture of software business as well as in the industry at large
8. Available OSS solutions already meet almost the whole range of companies' needs for any IT segment (core data center, server, office, iamge manipulation, content management system, etc.)
9. Migrating to OSS should follow a sharp process : analysis of the pros and cons, analysis of economic efficiency/impact, implementation of the migration itself according to a planned path
10. Several real-life cases show migrating to OSS is a winning move from both IT strategy point of view and, especially, business strategy point of view

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