Open Source – Star of the downturn

As the global economy takes a down turn, all tech industries are bearing the brunt of the situation, IT being one of the hardest hit. Innovative cost cutting techniques seem to be the mantra for getting around the situation. There are confirmed reports of IT budgets in a number of industries in the US and UK, being nearly halved. Unfortunately, unlike the previous recession that lasted eight months, this slowdown is expected to go on for much longer and surviving in this market is likely to become tougher for IT service providers.

In the face of this economic melt down, while blue chip companies (clients), outsourcing agencies and end users are looking for cost effective methods to complete their on going web projects, their expectations in terms of quality, delivery time and support remain unchanged. This poses a great challenge for service providers to meet their client’s needs at a lower cost.

In such a scenario, Open Source is emerging as the best tool for effective marketing for the clients and the vendors. This shift to open source solutions is supported by both internal and external forces of the software industry.

Open Source is now in a phase where people have seen and used it and become more familiar and comfortable with it. Good projects and good code have come out of open-source efforts. The value of collaborative power of multiple users that goes into these efforts is being appreciated more and more. Open source is no longer some radical idea but a trend and a method of software development that has produced good work and sometimes has surpassed its commercial alternative in terms of quality and robustness of the code.

The obvious reasons why open source is becoming more acceptable to corporate IT departments and outsourcing agencies are:

Cost: Open Source software available under the GPL license is free. In some cases, you may donate for the distribution. The cost of the distribution is generally nothing in comparison to the cost of many enterprise level commercial offerings. In addition, the developers of many of the open source solutions offer support contracts that are suitable to all levels of business or organization.

Software Source Code: When you purchase a license to use most commercial software, you are dependent on the software developer to add features or customize the software for the needs of your business or organization. You do not have access to the source code in most of the cases. With open source software, you are free to modify the software and customize it in order to suit your requirement.

Scalability and Robustness: a large community of highly skilled software developers has been involved in development of open source solutions, such as Linux, Perl, and Apache. As you can see from our examples, open source software is used across a full spectrum of web sites. Open source UNIX based operating systems such as Linux are extremely robust and efficient as they are suitable for both small and large organizations.

Large Support Community: a large community of developers that communicate through on-line discussion groups supports many open source offerings. This allows common problems to be easily solved and bugs to be quickly exposed and fixed eventually.

Security and Protection of Proprietary Data: There is a myth that open source software is more vulnerable to attack than proprietary solutions. Actually, the opposite is often true. Because the source code is exposed, it is often easier for a security minded software community to close security holes or breeches.

In sum, when most of the organizations and agencies don’t have adequate fund for their software and web application requirements, Open Source has come to the forefront as an affordable and effective platform for clients and service providers.