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How Big US Firms Use Open Source Software

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the filling-the-gaps-in-the-walls dept.

Open Source 116

Diomidis Spinellis writes "We hear a lot about the adoption of open source software, but when I was asked to provide hard evidence there was little I could find. In a recent article we tried to fill this gap by examining the type of software the U.S. Fortune 1000 companies use in their web-facing operations. Our study shows that the adoption of OSS in large U.S. companies is significant and is increasing over time through a low-churn transition, advancing from applications to platforms, and influenced by network effects. The adoption is likelier in larger organizations and is associated with IT and knowledge-intensive work, operating efficiencies, and less productive employees. Yet, the results were not what I was expecting."

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Critiques on their methodology (5, Informative)

j-pimp (177072) | more than 2 years ago | (#39445299)

Part of their results are based on what they host their company websites on. I don't know about the top 1000. But when I worked at an ISP, several large clients that colo-ed several racks of equipment from us hosted their website on our hosted servers. If a company website doesn't do anything interactive besides send an email to someone in sales or marketing then thats probably what said company does.

Also, its really more interesting what the internal systems in a corporation are running, not the company website, which is usually not handled by IT.

Re:Critiques on their methodology (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39445817)

In my experience most specialist corporate software consists of Microsoft Office macros written in Visual Basic. Standard letters, reports, budgets, ... Companies just cannot switch over to LibreOffice and this is the reason. Office macros may not seem like much and aren't spectacular and might not even look particularly mission critical, but without them everyone effectively works an hour less and that you'll notice.

Re:Critiques on their methodology (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39449983)

Agreed. The mythical idea of a custom made corporate-wide operational system is a unicorn in the business world. Usually there is a collection of 3rd party systems that do not talk to each other. The magic interface is humans with Excel/Access doing macros and simple coding, to move data between or generate reports.

Most IT departments that I have come across use the MS platform for Desktop and Servers (File, Mail, AD). Then use whatever the 3rd party vendor of uses. Very few if any, have chosen to build their own and use an OSS platform to do this on. I would have to say that if I was to build said system, I would use Oracle on Linux and then Java or C middle tier with a web based front end. All of that would run on Linux.

As for making a product from OSS, I see a lot of things now going towards the Linux appliance model and even Linux appliance as a VM.

Re:Critiques on their methodology (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#39450709)

That's a very limited view of corporate computing.

The truth is that "network effects" favor Linux as a form of Unix in the server room and disfavors anything that isn't Windows any where else. However, the market in general has been moving more towards platform agnostic application development platforms in recent years.

They are afraid of GPL (5, Interesting)

postmortem (906676) | more than 2 years ago | (#39445327)

Most companies are afraid to derive products from projects with GPL license, in fear that they will have to share all their code (even unrelated) with customers, and that exact obligation from license is unclear, and might change in court.

Now, article seems to be more about using SW tools developed with GPL license; not developing their own products from GPL components. That is lesser issue.

Re:They are afraid of GPL (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39445425)

Most companies are afraid to derive products from projects with GPL license, in fear that they will have to share all their code (even unrelated) with customers, and that exact obligation from license is unclear, and might change in court.

Can't say I've ever encountered that. I doubt you can name names of companies you've experienced this with for confidentiality reasons but can you give some idea of the number of companies you're basing this off - and what sort of size / industries?

Re:They are afraid of GPL (3, Informative)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 2 years ago | (#39445715)

Apple. They went as far as writing their own CIFS implementation and their own C, Obj-C, and C++ compiler front ends to avoid the GPL(v3) and its restrictions. They then later opened the compiler front end in a more open way, so clearly this was not through a fear of FOSS, but through a fear of the GPL.

Re:They are afraid of GPL (2)

Bengie (1121981) | more than 2 years ago | (#39445999)

Apple pushes code upstream to FreeBSD. Apple doesn't have to worry about *having* to share code, but lets them choose which code to share. FreeBSD has benefited from this.

Re:They are afraid of GPL (4, Insightful)

micheas (231635) | more than 2 years ago | (#39446017)

It is fear of GPL 3 and the anti patent troll provision.

Which matters if you are a patent troll.

Re:They are afraid of GPL (2)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 2 years ago | (#39446143)

On a semantic note... the GPLv3 has no anti-patent-troll provision. Patent trolls are people who sue people with patents that they have no intention of ever using. They just have the patents to beat other people over the head with.

Clearly if you're releasing source under the GPLv3 that involves those patents you have an intention of using (and have already used) the patents. So, not anti patent troll, anti patent.

Re:They are afraid of GPL (2)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 2 years ago | (#39446611)

It's worse than that. Patent trolls have no operations other than developing or buying patents and making money off of licenses and infringement suits. As a result there is no way to counter sue for infringement because they don't do anything that might violate a patent.

Apple may have a bundle of dubious patents that they are being aggressive with, but at least they have operations which are vulnerable to the same tactics they are practicing.

Re:They are afraid of GPL (1)

HyperQuantum (1032422) | more than 2 years ago | (#39449977)

I thought it had something to do with the anti-Tivoization clauses?

Re:They are afraid of GPL (2)

Vanders (110092) | more than 2 years ago | (#39446535)

the GPL(v3) and its restrictions

What restrictions? Without the GPL, Apple couldn't use the code at all. How is a license to use the code a restriction?

Re:They are afraid of GPL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39449147)

What restrictions? Without the GPL, Apple couldn't use the code at all. How is a license to use the code a restriction?

GP was most probably referring to restrictions of use when compared to public domain (or licences such as Apache, BSD and the like), and you're most probably referring to restrictions (lack thereof) when compared to closed source and proprietary code.

You know, the classical half full vs. half empty glass debate.

Re:They are afraid of GPL (1)

ninetyninebottles (2174630) | more than 2 years ago | (#39447111)

Apple does contribute to about 30 different GPL projects they use in OS X, according to their press info.

Re:They are afraid of GPL (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39446289)

Posting AC. Take the anecdotes for what they are.

Small Biz: Oil & Gas enterprise services < 25 employees. Would not use any open license but BSD or MIT. GPL3 was extra terrifying because we sold tivoized hardware. Moved on.

"Small" Academic Environment: 250-500 employees. Expressly forbidden to use Linux because it was "insecure". Moved on.

Ultra Small office of Local Government: "Just download what you need off of that torrent stuff". Did not understand software had a license, so maybe this is irrelevant. Moved on.

Very Large Academic: > 5000 employees. There's actually an outright hatred of open software for anything but the "core" services... e.g. email or throwing up a website. Middle management continually attempts to kill non-microsoft development to the point where I'm contemplating resigning to better use my skills elsewhere. I seriously believe there are kickbacks involved, but couldn't prove it.

Doing freelance, myself and old college bro ~1/4 of the time specifically encountered MS specific requests, but usually when presented with the price difference people change their mind.

Re:They are afraid of GPL (2)

Pentavirate (867026) | more than 2 years ago | (#39446375)

What price difference? MS based development is usually much faster thanks to great tools like Visual Studio.

Re:They are afraid of GPL (5, Funny)

iserlohn (49556) | more than 2 years ago | (#39446703)

I thought your comment was sarcasm, but then I read the first post off of your blog and realized that it wasn't.

Re:They are afraid of GPL (0)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#39446735)

MS based development is usually much faster thanks to great tools like Visual Studio.

CITATION NEEDED.

Re:They are afraid of GPL (2)

cavreader (1903280) | more than 2 years ago | (#39447287)

You can trash MS all you want but their development IDE and related services are pretty good compared to the others I have used. MS has always offered good developer support. They cater to the developers to increase the likelihood of people creating more MS programs which in turn bolsters peoples reliance on the basic MS stack. Their original introduction of VB (with all it's short comings) made it much easier for people with limited experience to create applications. On the other hand Java based developer support was much weaker at the same time. I participated in a contest for the Federal Reserve that had 2 teams with equal developer capabilities build the same application and the MS team came out on top by a wide margin. This contest was conducted to determine which platform would become the organization standard. A lot of companies today don't make an effort to decide which environment they want to use. In most instances they rely on a developer to supply that evaluation and there are a lot of developers that are biased when it come to selecting a certain environment.

Re:They are afraid of GPL (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#39447555)

Who said anything about trashing MS?

I was just looking for some backup to the bold claim that development the Microsoft way was was significantly faster.

I like FOSS philosophy and FOSS stuff, but I'll happily admit that VB (6 was the version I used most) was a great GUI prototyping tool, and good for rapid development of general widgets and things. I just really disagree with the blanket statement that developing with MS stuff is 'usually faster', when what I think you mean is that *you* find it faster.

Yes developers are often biased, I certainly am, but there's a massive spread of these biases around. You exhibit another.

Re:They are afraid of GPL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39447761)

Posting as AC just because I'm lazy and don't want to log in right now.

I worked for a large company and developed cross-platfomr products for Windows, Mac, Unix, and several flavors of Linux. In general everything was developed, tested, and debugged on Windows first then ported to the other platforms because the Windows development tools just blew away everything else. Windows (Visual Studio, in particular) debuggers run circles around any debugger on Linux. The VS stuff was much easier to use and better integrated into the development environment. I can't even imagine how hard it would have been to debug everything on Linux first because the tools were awful, at least in comparison to VS. Sure, the Linus tools are flexible and do the job. But why spend time trying to customize them when you can just use the Microsoft product. (Want and example? Try to get a conveniently readable hex+ascii dump using your favorite debugger without custom configuration.)

Re:They are afraid of GPL (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448051)

(Want and example? Try to get a conveniently readable hex+ascii dump using your favorite debugger without custom configuration.)

Ever heard of ddd?
It hasn't been updated in quite a while, but then it doesn't need to be. It does everything I've needed of it for the last ten years. Custom config is unnecessary.

It's just bias.

Re:They are afraid of GPL (1)

RoboJ1M (992925) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448887)

I citate.... ME![1]

[1] RoboJ1M (Slashdot Comment, 2012-03-23): "Linq and it's backends Linq to Objects, SQL and Xsd make business application programming not only faster, but simpler and more maintainable"

Re:They are afraid of GPL (4, Funny)

Archtech (159117) | more than 2 years ago | (#39449299)

Their original introduction of VB (with all it's short comings) made it much easier for people with limited experience to create applications. On the other hand Java based developer support was much weaker at the same time.

Yes indeed. I remember clearly that Java's support for developers was abysmal in 1991.

java in 91 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39450013)

perhaps gestational or nascent might be a better term than abysmal. When did the first VB come out? I remember using QB4.5 and Basic PDS in 1990/1991 right around the DOS/Windows transition...

Re:They are afraid of GPL (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39446831)

Perhaps, but those "great tools" are often in the hands of ass-scratchers who will royally screw things up several times before finally releasing (kinda) useable software. Just my experience from troubleshooting/maintaining countless in-house projects at three jobs.

Re:They are afraid of GPL (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39447009)

What's nice about middle management is that they don't want to look under the hood. Knowing this, you can manipulate them to let you work on almost anything you want.

If I were trying to convince my old boss's boss about approving my open source project development I'd be talking about Microsoft's new move toward HTML5 standardization, features like resolution independence, forthcoming rumors about Windows 8 and new ERP developments. I'd describe the pricey Microsoft developer programs and conferences, and then say "But based on the current rumors, I could build a prototype with open source tools so we'll be ready" :-)

Keep a middle manager's eyes on the 18-24 month time frame, use the right terminology, spread the right rumors, and they'll buy you an iPad for your Windows 8 project :-)

Re:They are afraid of GPL (1)

unixisc (2429386) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448895)

Most companies are afraid to derive products from projects with GPL license, in fear that they will have to share all their code (even unrelated) with customers, and that exact obligation from license is unclear, and might change in court.

Can't say I've ever encountered that. I doubt you can name names of companies you've experienced this with for confidentiality reasons but can you give some idea of the number of companies you're basing this off - and what sort of size / industries?

W/ one of my past employers who used to manufacture flash memory solutions, one of the groups we had in the company was a software support team there to enable customers implement our product in their applications. I once had a conversation w/ the guy heading that group regarding a suite available to help kickstart a major company product we were launching. In course of the conversation, he mentioned that we would be willing to work w/ whatever license the customer wanted, and specifically mentioned that we tended not to go for GPL b'cos it was one of those that was pretty disliked by customers. Note that this was before even GPL3. I know that putting it the way I am, it's anecdotal, but it illustrates that the GPL is a license that tries to push its ideology downstream, which is something that customers - those who don't ignore and violate the GPL - resent.

Re:They are afraid of GPL (1)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#39445433)

That is lesser issue.

Lesser? It's a non-issue.

Re:They are afraid of GPL (4, Insightful)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | more than 2 years ago | (#39445437)

Nope, not true. Big companies know how to develop with the GPL, and software engineers go through required training to ensure they understand what must be GPL, and what can be proprietary. The problem, I think, is that the scope of the search was "web facing" operations. I see an awful lot of GPL in large Fortune 100 companies in firmware development, and I've worked for 3 of them.

What doesn't happen a lot is that the GPL changes get incorporated into mainstream releases. Not so much because the companies hoard it (the opposite, they're petrified of lawsuits), but because the kinds of software development that occur in commercial enterprise does not necessarily produce good code that you'd want to incorporate in your OSS project.

Re:They are afraid of GPL (2)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 2 years ago | (#39445655)

Yup. We have a range of successful products based on Linux with all sorts of packages under GPL and other licenses. Our legal department keeps track of all licenses and we all know that if/when we introduce a new piece of external code we'd better document where it's from and what license it comes under. They're prepared to send out CDs if anybody asks for a batch of sources for the GPL licensed parts but that has never happened AFAIK.

Re:They are afraid of GPL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39445845)

What company? What products? How do I go about requesting source code?

Re:They are afraid of GPL (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39445951)

I've worked for Sun Microsystems and, more recently, Xerox on and with FOSS.

If you buy an A3 Xerox copier, it'll be running Linux (WindRiver) on PowerPC processors. Most of the software is written in C and C++. The colour GUI is written in Java and uses an X server. The informational videos (paper jams) are done using ogg theora. I can't remember which web server us used, but as much of the stack as possible is FOSS for licensing costs and for ease development.

I believe the source code is somewhere on xerox.com.

Re:They are afraid of GPL (2)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 2 years ago | (#39446497)

If you didn't receive the binaries from some company, they are under no obligation to provide you with anything. And if you did receive the binaries, then they must tell you how to get the source code.

Re:They are afraid of GPL (3, Funny)

Iskender (1040286) | more than 2 years ago | (#39446295)

What doesn't happen a lot is that the GPL changes get incorporated into mainstream releases. Not so much because the companies hoard it (the opposite, they're petrified of lawsuits),

Actually, you got it slightly wrong. The big companies are *terrified*. It's Natalie Portman who's *petrified*.

And in true Slashdot fashion I have poured hot grits down my pants. Thank you.

Re:They are afraid of GPL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39446301)

My company is very supportive of using and contributing to open source projects. However, we are forbidden by our legal department to use or contribute to any GPL(v3) projects. I wonder how many projects have shot themselves in the foot by using GPL(v3), and almost guaranteeing companies stay away.

Re:They are afraid of GPL (1)

micheas (231635) | more than 2 years ago | (#39446431)

Considering the current litigation climate in the US, GPLv3 seems like it would be a necessity to maintain anything to do with audio or video.

ImageMagick has essentially the same anti-patent clause as GPLv3 attached to a BSD style license.

It will be interesting to see if ImageMagick style licenses pick up in the communities that use BSD style licenses.

Re:They are afraid of GPL (1)

joib (70841) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448569)

Google's webm project is also under a (3-clause) BSD license with an additional patent license on top (which ceases in case of a patent suite, similar to GPLv3, or the Apache license v2).

Re:They are afraid of GPL (1)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448133)

It's hard to generalize. Open source was scary and forbidden, mostly because SCO and similar lawsuits. Now, we have former developers in key roles, and open source is encouraged.

Big companies nothing, you just have to get the right people into the right role, in every company, to make the change.

Re:They are afraid of GPL (3, Insightful)

ilguido (1704434) | more than 2 years ago | (#39445493)

Do you have any examples or am I supposed to believe your FUD without questioning? Someone should tell to all those Android smartphone makers that the Linux kernel is GPL'ed.

Re:They are afraid of GPL (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39445707)

Android is a high-level initiative with lots of lawyers involved. Those companies could still ban bundling in some random GPL library into their internal applications. Large companies are very sensitive about third-party components, open-source or otherwise, in my experience.

Re:They are afraid of GPL (2)

Sique (173459) | more than 2 years ago | (#39445869)

Hm. Can't say that about the company I am working for. Their main product lines base on Linux, the additional application servers are either based on Windows Server or Linux, depending on the particular developer group. And this is a $2.5 billion per year revenue company we are talking about.

Re:They are afraid of GPL (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 2 years ago | (#39446429)

Using open source products to develop a product is a tricky proposition. For example, you may link to an LGPL library and think you are OK, but what if that LGPL component links to a GPL library?

Then throw in the murky world of software patents and no wonder why a corporate lawyer may have strong opinions about building a business on open source.

Re:They are afraid of GPL (1)

kanweg (771128) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448159)

The patent part has nothing to do with doing something with open source or not. If open source has feature X but you choose to implement feature X yourself and feature X turns out to be patented, you infringe too.

Bert
Patent agent and opposed to patents on software

Re:They are afraid of GPL (1)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 2 years ago | (#39446479)

There are three ways companies can 'use' GPL code.

First is internal use of the code as-is. Most companies do not have a problem with this.

Second is use of GPL code in a product. Lawyers are going to be involved in the release of products anyway, so licenses will be scrutinized and blessed. Companies using GPL code in a product are aware of the obligation to release the source, and can decide whether or not to build on GPL code based on that requirement. Again, not a big deal, because the requirement is clear.

Last is in-house custom code based off GPL code. In my experience this is the one has companies most leery. The concern is that what is in-house today may need to be external tomorrow (ie used by suppliers, etc). Once they 'distribute' their stuff to their supplier they have lost control of it, and can't even control it with contracts, etc. This is intolerable to many companies. If you base code off proprietary libraries, etc, the worst that happens is you need to buy or upgrade some licenses. That is something companies can deal with. With GPL code, your choices are: release your code to the world, get agreement from everyone who contributed to the GPL code, if you can even identify them, or don't do the deal. Companies do not like having their business relationships and actions determined by a software license.

we're using a lot of open source tools (2)

hguorbray (967940) | more than 2 years ago | (#39445335)

lke svn, twiki, mysql, memcached, boost, postgreql, hudson -and we're mostly a windows shop -although we are trying to move some of our heavier workloads to Linux.

-I'm just sayin'

Re:we're using a lot of open source tools (0)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 2 years ago | (#39445483)

So, still using ISS, then?

Re:we're using a lot of open source tools (3, Interesting)

hguorbray (967940) | more than 2 years ago | (#39445857)

Troll much?

-we use apache/resin to serve our Java clients -Apache and resin do run on windows you know.

  -however, our big workload on the backend is the realtime financial markets data that we have to turn around with minimal latency to the tune of up to 10 million messages/second, 22 billion messages per DAY. We are doing this on 8-core Win2003 boxes, but could probably last another year or 2 on the same hw by switching to Linux and have Linux pilots running on both medium iron (IBM Linux variant) and the midrange servers (OpenSUSE).

And the message volumes are going up ~20% per year....

-I'm just sayin'

Re:we're using a lot of open source tools (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39445873)

I work for a company that tests server racks. We use linux and other open source stuff all the time, but also some programs built in-house for specific needs.

OS browser (Firefox) running on Windows XP (2)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39445393)

I think this is the best way to convert people to OSS. Start slowly by showing them how can run free, non-Microsoft, non-Apple software. Then after a year or two, transition them to Linux.

And even if they never abandon Windows or MacOS, they're still hurting those corporations by not buying their major products, and using free altenatives instead.

Re:OS browser (Firefox) running on Windows XP (2, Funny)

Americano (920576) | more than 2 years ago | (#39445679)

And even if they never abandon Windows or MacOS, they're still hurting those corporations by not buying their major products, and using free altenatives instead.

Yes, Microsoft's and Apple's bottom lines will be decimated by the loss of revenues from lower sales of Internet Explorer and Safari!

Re:OS browser (Firefox) running on Windows XP (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39445879)

Yes, Microsoft's and Apple's bottom lines will be decimated by the loss of revenues from lower sales of [Microsoft Office, Microsoft Security, Silverlight, Printshop, Flux, iWork, etc].

Fixed that for you.

Re:OS browser (Firefox) running on Windows XP (2)

Americano (920576) | more than 2 years ago | (#39446139)

It was a joke, aimed at your specific naming of Firefox as the thing that's going to kill Apple and Microsoft's profits... but since you seem serious:

Apple makes most of its money on hardware sales, not software. If nobody ever bought iWork again, it would barely be a blip in their quarterly statements.

Microsoft has already announced plans to deprecate Silverlight in favor of plain-old-HTML5.

Enterprise is the major customer for Office, and large businesses often have a number of people with needs for the "advanced" features that LO/OO.o implement poorly, if at all. So while LO may work great for somebody who wants to just type up a TPS report, it's less clear that there's a strong value there, because it forces corporate IT to deploy, manage, and support installation of two separate office suites then - LO for the people who need "less functionality," and Office for the people who "need the advanced features." Enterprise IT also tends to frown on people just randomly installing non-approved software on corporate systems, too. It's a thing.

Open Source gets adopted when it's good enough. I can't imagine anybody having much trouble selling Firefox, perl, python, Linux on servers, Apache, Tomcat, Eclipse, ant, MySQL, the numerous Java frameworks & libraries available, etc. etc. etc. inside a corporation. And by good enough, I mean - it covers the major features, offers something you can't get from an existing package, is compatible with legacy systems, and is reasonably easy to use (i.e., doesn't include everything but the kitchen sink, and bury all those options in poorly designed menus or - better yet - in arcane configuration files). This is the reality you're facing if you want to replace proprietary systems to the point where Apple & Microsoft & all those other commercial vendors will see significant impact to their bottom lines.

Re:OS browser (Firefox) running on Windows XP (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39446867)

>>>It was a joke

Oh.

Re:OS browser (Firefox) running on Windows XP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39446329)

Apple's a hardware company. When using open source works better for them they do it - webkit, for example. Also, unlike Microsoft and Adobe, they're not clinging to this notion of software as a business model. They use software to enhance their core business model - which is hardware. It's like a TV shop selling spare cables and remotes for when the dog chews them up - he sells TV related things because he sells TVs. To make Mac OS truly competitive, at one point, they needed to adopt BSD. I'd argue that the ability for Apple to leverage open source software was key to their big comeback - both in terms of the code they were able to recycle and the software it provided for users so they were confident enough in the platform to pay for it. When it became obvious that "professional software" no longer merited ridiculous high end price tags, especially considering free alternatives, Apple drastically lowered the prices of Logic and Final Cut. What would happen to Adobe if they started selling Photoshop at a commodity price? They're by far the most vulnerable to stuff like Gimp and Audacity and Lightworks. Microsoft has all sorts of stuff, it'll just be interesting to see if the transition forces them to decline when LibreOffice makes MS Office obsolete and they're forced to sell Windows at commodity prices because of OS X, iOS, Android, and other *nixs. MS should survive it's just a matter of in what form. Adobe's doomed. Apple's set for now as long as they play their cards right.

Re:OS browser (Firefox) running on Windows XP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39447027)

"What would happen to Adobe if they started selling Photoshop at a commodity price?"

You mean like Photoshop Elements?

You really have no idea what you're talking about, do you?

Re:OS browser (Firefox) running on Windows XP (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39446745)

Businesses are not in the habit of shooting themselves in the foot just so other evil business doesn't get any of their money.

You: Here, Mr BusinessMan - use this wonderful replacement for [Office, Photoshop, etc]. It'll keep [evil company] from getting your money.
MBM: Oh, OK. How much does it cost?
You: It's FREE!
MBM: Oh, I'm interested in that. OK, so where do I sign up for training for some of my lead guys?
You: It's FREE!
MBM: Uh, you said that. No training eh? Well OK, at least there are well-written books and such for the newest releases, right?
You: It's FREE!
MBM: Hmm, this sounds a little sketchy. How much does support cost per year?
You: Hey dumbass, I said it's FREE! You have the source code! You don't need support!
MBM: Hello, [Adobe, Microsoft, etc], I need some licenses for x ASAP!
You: But, but, they're EVIL! You are missing an opportunity to stick it to them! Sacrifice a little you stupid SOB!

Re:OS browser (Firefox) running on Windows XP (1)

ninetyninebottles (2174630) | more than 2 years ago | (#39449327)

Yes, Microsoft's and Apple's bottom lines will be decimated by the loss of revenues from lower sales of [Microsoft Office, Microsoft Security, Silverlight, Printshop, Flux, iWork, etc].

Fixed that for you.

Printshop?!? You mean publishing software never owned by either Apple or MS? Flux? The only Apple product you listed was iWork and it isn't even a significant revenue stream for Apple. This entire argument seems idiotic, as companies like Apple do create and contribute to OSS all the time (Webkit anyone?). Apple mainly uses software and services as ways to motivate people to buy hardware. If you want to hurt their bottom line, use all their software and none of their hardware.

Re:OS browser (Firefox) running on Windows XP (3, Informative)

omglolbah (731566) | more than 2 years ago | (#39445901)

Getting any OSS software certified for use in the corporate environment is a mostly pointless activity where I work.

Corporate IT has in talks with the legal department banned ALL open source software from the network due to "unclear legality of corporate use of software". Since there is no vendor to guarantee that the software is legal and take the hit if it turns out to NOT be legal, they wont go for it.

No amount of lobbying will help us get access to what we want to use. There is almost -always- a commercial vendor which will sell a similar product and the people who make the decisions are so far away from the people using the software that they'll go with the vendor options.

Hell... The head of IT has actually come out and plainly said that usage of firefox on the corporate network was a huge breach of security and could 'endanger the entire company infrastructure'... This was a time when we were still using IE6 while the rest of the world was up at 8 and moving to 9...

If only it was possible to get some of the free options adopted more widely... and if only the corporate lawyer asshats would get educated on the legality.....

Re:OS browser (Firefox) running on Windows XP (3, Insightful)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | more than 2 years ago | (#39446853)

Since there is no vendor to guarantee that the software is legal and take the hit if it turns out to NOT be legal, they wont go for it.

Yeah, that sounds like a good heuristic... wait, what?

There are some pretty big open source companies. IBM, RedHat, Google, etc. Conversely, there are plenty of little proprietary software companies that could die off and blow away by the end of the year.

On top of that, since when do proprietary software companies offer to indemnify their customers anyway? Do you see anything like that in the license for Office or Photoshop?

Re:OS browser (Firefox) running on Windows XP (2)

omglolbah (731566) | more than 2 years ago | (#39447487)

It has very little to do with logic. If they were logical you could argue with them after all.

There are quite a few things I could use in my daily work that I cannot.

* Paint.net, I have to use Photoshop which is quite pricy for the simplistic stuff I do.
* SVN, To actually keep track of what I code and change. I make small apps for coworkers to ease repetitive tasks a bit. Instead I get to zip down the code with a Scheduled Task every 8 hours and dump it onto a usb-drive... sigh
* A myriad of command line tools that make handling data easier. Hell GREP would be awesome to have... but no.

Their most amusing argument against Paint.net is amusing however...

"If we have everyone using photoshop we get much better prices and agreements"

Not better than free damnit *sigh*

Re:OS browser (Firefox) running on Windows XP (2)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39447425)

My company uses Firefox as its default browser. And they are extremely anal-retentive about security (you can't insert a USB or floppy without IT taking it & scanning it to make sure you didn't steal anything). Apparently they think open-source is safe.

Because it is. As long as it's from a known-safe source (and Netscape/Mozilla certainly fits the bill). Your IT guy is just a brainwashed Microsoft lackey if he thought IE6 was safer than Firefox 4. Similar to that teacher who flipped-out & punished a kid who was making copies of Linux CDs for classmates.

Re:OS browser (Firefox) running on Windows XP (1)

omglolbah (731566) | more than 2 years ago | (#39447499)

Corporate IT for a company with 120000 or so people. Cannot name names due to a 'code of conduct' agreement :p

We build control systems for oil rigs at my location and we get no access to open source tools... It hurts.

Re:OS browser (Firefox) running on Windows XP (1)

Shavano (2541114) | more than 2 years ago | (#39446743)

Why should I want to hurt Microsoft or Apple? I can't see any way that would benefit me.

Re:OS browser (Firefox) running on Windows XP (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39447073)

Weakening the duopoly is always a positive for the customer. (More choices in the future.)

Re:OS browser (Firefox) running on Windows XP (1)

exomondo (1725132) | more than 2 years ago | (#39446881)

I think this is the best way to convert people to OSS. Start slowly by showing them how can run free, non-Microsoft, non-Apple software. Then after a year or two, transition them to Linux.

What i've found hard is answering the question of 'why'. For the average user who is currently using Windows or OSX i've never been able to make a compelling argument for them to transition to Linux, sure it's free but the cost of the OS is negligible when they purchase their machine so that's no incentive. It's great to hack around with the source code, but most people who just use computers have no interest in that.
At the application level it makes sense if they are making a purchasing decision, don't want to pay for Photoshop or Aperture/MAX or Maya? Try GIMP/Blender, if you don't like it that's fine, you haven't lost anything, it was free. Same goes for MS Office/iWork and Libre/Open Office. But it's hard to find an argument that they actually care about for them to transition.

You are looking in the wrong place. (5, Insightful)

BagOBones (574735) | more than 2 years ago | (#39445401)

We don't often use open source products directly, instead we use tools supported by 3rd parties that are built on them...

For example:
Firewalls are based on BSD but since BSD licensing allows it they are closed systems forked form BSD a long time ago.
Our firewall management platform runs on Linux and contains many open source packages, you even have the option of running the management tool on your own linux but we don't, we purchased a rack-able appliance that is maintained as a whole. We get "releases" that update the whole app, server services and kernel as a working supported package..

Our ANTI spam package runs on linux and is based on spam assassin at the lowest level, however again, we purchase a racked supported appliance that gets frequent updates so we don't waste time trying to piece together all the little things.

Hell even our desk phones run linux under neath but do I care? no I wan a phone that just works, so I never touch the open source part..

If you are doing a survey on open source and you are looking at desktop apps and web-servers in an Enterprise, you are missing the open source software right under your nose.

Re:You are looking in the wrong place. (2)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 2 years ago | (#39449347)

Exactly. Open source or not if a third party actively develops something, big company does not want to invest in developing it. It will wait for updates and build their own stuff around 3rd party.

Developing open software means collaboration of two entities: corporation and open source team that develops it. Even reading this juxtaposition is enough to see how unlikely this union is.

Well take a look at that (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39445405)

AC gets himself a frosty

Check out the big brain on Brad

Keepin' it real one first post at a time. Shout out homies.

Re:Well take a look at that (0, Troll)

X0563511 (793323) | more than 2 years ago | (#39445443)

I think your frosty machine is broken. It's spewing diarrhea all over the floor, instead of delicious icy goodness.

adoption associated with.less productive employees (4, Interesting)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#39445453)

This part surprised me, til I read this:

"Open source software is often less polished than its proprietary alternatives; version proliferation and poor usability are two often-reported problems [Nichols and Twidale, 2003,Krishnamurthy, 2005,Viorres et al., 2007]. Highly-paid employees, like knowledge workers, may argue that the fit of the OSS [Thompson et al., 1991], the service quality it offers [DeLone and McLean, 2003], or the perceived behavioral control they have over it [Ajzen, 1991] is worse than that of its proprietary alternative. The key factors for resisting such change can be classified into people-oriented, system-oriented, and interaction theories [Jiang et al., 2000]. As the cost of the software used by highly productive workers forms a small percentage of their total employment cost and the software's quality reflects a lot on their productivity, spending on industry-standard proprietary software may be a rational decision. Consequently, we could expect that the relative advantage of OSS viewed as an innovation [Moore and Benbasat, 1991,Rogers, 2003] will be marginal. As an example, traders with seven figure incomes are unlikely to skimp on the operating system running on their PCs.

--> "Conversely, in Fortune 1000 companies with numerous but less productive employees adoption of cheaper though less polished OSS can offer significant cost advantages, and therefore management can easier mandate its use. For instance, we can easily imagine the cost savings associated with thousands of service desks running Linux and the Thunderbird mail client."

Re:adoption associated with.less productive employ (1)

westyvw (653833) | more than 2 years ago | (#39445531)

Can you really discuss the current offerings of software based on studies or surveys done from 1991 - 2007?

Re:adoption associated with.less productive employ (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39445801)

Nothing has really changed. The cost of Windows/Office/Photoshop/etc licences are minuscule compared to overall employee costs (unless you are running a fastfood restaurant).

This is one key fact the open source world just doesn't "get", probably because they are all unemployed hippies ala their cult leader Richard Stallman. Open source only has a cost advantage at scale, e.g. websites or centralized applications.

Re:adoption associated with.less productive employ (3, Insightful)

westyvw (653833) | more than 2 years ago | (#39447835)

False. First I was asking directly about the reports and why they are cited.
Second, open source has a huge advantage of making people more efficient. Lets take a frim I have been consulting with as an example:
First meeting of the day was about licensing. We had 10 people in a room to discuss what licenses are in use, which ones are going away, and what we need to plan to spend next year. Many other people spent the last week gathering information, creating charts, and writing reports for this meeting. Lost productivity: about 120 hours * 15 people. Next, we worked on trying to mitigate upgrades that two vendors are requiring, leaving them with an unusable system, 4 people assigned full time for the last year. Add in the fact that the closed source vendor has a bug in their software, and our million dollar support contract doesnt cover vendor bugs if they are to fixed in some upcoming version, the ticket is closed and we can suck it. They cant go anywhere else easily, they are locked in nice and tight, the data cant get out and they have convinced management that training is always more costly then change. Next we review how two other offices have reduced thier support labor from 20 people / 200 desks down to 2 per 500 desks using Linux thin clients and open source apps. The users are more productive as the apps are tailored to their workflow, not some clump of apps slapped onto Windows like their counterparts.

So closed source apps and proprietary data formats are the big labor wasters.

Re:adoption associated with.less productive employ (2)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448509)

So closed source apps and proprietary data formats are the big labor wasters.

We all know that is what it is like in real life. The MBA/PHP view of the world is not tainted by contact with reality

Re:adoption associated with.less productive employ (2)

Diomidis Spinellis (661697) | more than 2 years ago | (#39448827)

You have a point here. And you haven't mentioned the huge cost associated with procurement processes for proprietary software, especially in the public sector. These can drag on for months. In contrast, acquiring an open-source product is often simply a matter of a one-click download. Even if the organization's legal has trouble understanding open source licenses, this is a hurdle you have to overcome just once.

Re:adoption associated with.less productive employ (1)

Diomidis Spinellis (661697) | more than 2 years ago | (#39449389)

The rules of academic publishing are that you have to cite relevant related work. This includes both fresh results and old classics. Where possible, we tried to cite the most recent studies. Some studies that are appear dated indicate a research opportunity to update the corresponding area. Also, it would be wrong to dismiss a paper because of its age. Some of the older studies we cite present theoretical frameworks of enduring value and importance, demonstrated by the thousands of citations they have received over the years. For instance, the 2003 study by Venkatesh and his colleagues on the user acceptance of information technology, which we cite [dmst.aueb.gr] , has received almost five thousand citations [google.com] . It would be wrong to ignore it, just because of its age.

Re:adoption associated with.less productive employ (2)

undeadbill (2490070) | more than 2 years ago | (#39445631)

How is this surprising? Highly paid knowledge workers are under heavy demand to perform. Their entire job can be measured in hours of "non-productive" time, which would include learning a new workflow process (Linux desktop and software) so they can do the job that they are already doing quite well. If some tool written under windows is the tool they need, then they get that tool on the latest version. Not giving it to them means the inflow of money stops.

Same can't be said for most of the other staff. Linux is fantastic for call centers, admin assistants, and the like. Most of their work can be done through a browser. A desktop admin can remotely lock down their machines, choose which options of which applications to enable remotely, push and roll back software updates- all with free tools. It cuts down on the amount of staff needed to keep those parts of a company running without much pushback. No more need for licensed backup, anti-virus, update, software push, or upgrade software, and all of the admin headaches that come along with that.

High end traders, and F500 (3, Informative)

xzvf (924443) | more than 2 years ago | (#39445713)

Most trading companies have huge numbers of Linux servers feeding data to high end trader desktops. I suspect that many of the quants have both Linux systems for work, and Windows for bureaucracy.(email, expenses, etc.). Regular institutional traders use tons of open source software, but likely don't realize it. Sure, the desktop OS is likely Windows, the office suite is likely MS Office, but the browser is Chrome/Firefox. There is also all the stuff on the back end. If the database isn't open source, it is still more likely to be running on Linux than Windows (Db2 and Oracle), with the exception of MSSQL. Web servers, internal and external are more likely to be Nginex or Apache than IIS or other proprietary offerings. Commercial application servers have a small market share compared to open source ones. I can go on, but open source software is already heavily adopted by most large corporations. You won't see it on the desktop extensively, but it is there.

Re:High end traders, and F500 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39449543)

I work in IT in a very large brokerage. Basically every server that gets rolled out is Linux (mostly Red Hat). Solaris is mostly gone, replaced by Linux. Linux runs on everything from VMware ESX VMs to 256Gb low-latency systems. Only a few services (Exchange, AD) run on Windows.

On the other hand, much OSS is being replaced by proprietary solutions with more control or better security. Samba has been replaced by Netapp and sudo by Powerbroker. Management will use OSS, but they are interested in results and control and have no ideological axe to grind.

That said, on the server, Linux has already won.

Re:adoption associated with.less productive employ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39445741)

ROFL. Should read "less well-paid." The legions of workers that actually make products that people use are somehow "less productive" than the traders with "seven figured incomes." Really.

Re:adoption associated with.less productive employ (2)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#39446401)

As an example, traders with seven figure incomes are unlikely to skimp on the operating system running on their PCs.

Traders with seven figure incomes don't select the OS and apps running on their desktop. That's what the IT department is for. And when selecting a system for their seven figure income trader, cost is much less of an issue than for the call center employee. Just buy them the newest, shiniest rig at the PC shop. And if it quits, just buy a brand new one and scrap last year's model. At call centers, someone is counting every nickel.

One more point: Some of those citations are pretty old (1991). Things have changed since then. Principally, the visibility of open source. In 1991, the face of OSS was RMS. Now its Google.

Re:adoption associated with.less productive employ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39449015)

traders with seven figure incomes are unlikely to skimp on the operating system running on their PCs.

This is a particularly silly remark. First, as someone's already pointed out, it's the IT department that specifies, installs, and configures the PCs and their operating systems, certainly not an individual trader, who has better things to do with his time even if he did care about such things. The doctrine of comparative advantage, and all that.

More importantly, though, the operating system running on a trader's PC is only the tip of a vast infrastructure. Sure, he may be running Windows, using Excel for pricing, and maybe one or more proprietary Java-based trading system GUIs. But the bulk of the work will be done on hundreds or maybe thousands of back-end servers, almost all of which are pretty much guaranteed to be running Linux, with software developed using gcc, Eclipse, emacs, and all the usual OSS suspects. (Even the GUI itself might be on a Linux box, with only an X server or VNC or equivalent running on the Windows PC.)

Finally, note the specious attempt to suggest a positive correlation between the cost of software and its quality. Anyone reading this site should be able to come up with endless counterexamples.

Re:adoption associated with.less productive employ (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#39449919)

So the claim here is that a high paid worker is a very productive one?

Why is there no citation for that little gem?

Anything with Java (1)

tomhath (637240) | more than 2 years ago | (#39445585)

Pretty much any Java project these days probably uses Spring and Hibernate or iBatis and a pile of other libraries.

This study seems to be asking what browsers are being used by corporations, and what servers are providing content. This really doesn't even scratch the surface of how corporations are using OSS.

Re:Anything with Java (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39446107)

Don't forget open source application servers (JBoss, Glassfish, Tomcat) are eating into WebLogic and WebSphere's margins. (Disclaimer: I work for Red Hat.) The bottom line is that as time goes on, the OS stuff gets better and better. (Assuming you've picked an active, well run Open Source product.) Proprietary stuff gets less attractive as time goes on.

OSS Adoption is NOT about the GPL (2)

bertybassett (242946) | more than 2 years ago | (#39445613)

The biggest obstacle to using OSS in seriously large corporations is support.
 
I'm a lead architect on a seriously big project for a global scale logistics company right now. We use CouchDB, HudsonCI, Membase, EhCache and some other OSS stuff. Its used as core infrastructure on a global deployment to over 100 countries, supporting the entire platform, and handling in the tens-of-millions of messages per day - and I can say from bitter experience that while most managers will buy into the use of this stuff, unless they can buy 24/7 Gold Support with a 4 Hour response, it makes not a shred of difference how good this stuff is technically.
 
It all boils down to CYA - and no support means no CYA.....

Re:OSS Adoption is NOT about the GPL (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#39446463)

Seriously large corporations have their own support. The 24/7 Gold Support with 4 hour response is more appropriate for small or mid sized companies.

When I was with Boeing, we had our own people on site and 15 minute response times*.

*Granted, toward the end there, they had one phone number for all trouble calls. One number to call if your toilet backed up or your server did not.

Re:OSS Adoption is NOT about the GPL (1)

Anthony Mouse (1927662) | more than 2 years ago | (#39446889)

Not only that, how do you people think IBM and RedHat make their money? Support contracts.

People who argue you can't get support for open source software are living in Microsoft propaganda land.

Re:OSS Adoption is NOT about the GPL (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#39447201)

I'll have to admit that some smaller businesses have been screwed over by low bidder vendors. Some are fly-by-night operators. They set up your office cheap without telling you that support is a separate item. And then they disappear.

An honest vendor will set your system up and explain the support issues to you. Often times, its not much different from proprietary system support. If you really want 24/7 fast response, its going to cost you no matter where you got your stuff. Even Geek Squad home visits to fix Microsoft stuff isn't cheap.

DD speaks highly of L/FOSS, but .... (1)

OldHawk777 (19923) | more than 2 years ago | (#39445657)

Most decision makers in DN, DA, DAF run to the hand-holders [AKA: Proprietary Software Marketeers (PSM)], because DD components are dominated by highly certified and very poorly qualified technology-project managers. One project a colleague brought in to the company was promoted and supported by the government worker-bees and pack-mules, but after 12+ months of unsuccessful requesting/pleading for ".mil" domain dev/test and production environments ... The PSM came in to save the day and help produce a monolithic silo CMS/BMS/BWf/IDE... system to rule them all.

The information (data/content) will never be "FREE" from vendor formats, hooks, ownership ....

Re:DD speaks highly of L/FOSS, but .... (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 2 years ago | (#39447801)

Oh, puh-lease with the "free data" thing. Ever closed source application I've ever used has import/export features. I've never not been able to get to data under any circumstances. This idea that data is inaccessible outside of a proprietary app is a straw man argument.

I am testing some FOSS software for my company. (1)

chr1st1anSoldier (2598085) | more than 2 years ago | (#39446353)

The company that I work for is thinking of moving off of MS Office because their license is expiring soon and moving towards LibreOffice and Thunderbird. I have been doing the testing for our company trying to work all the "bugs" out and seeing how difficult the migration will be. Now, the company I work for is not very big, just under 50 employees, but it is still a company none the less.

Re:I am testing some FOSS software for my company. (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 2 years ago | (#39447767)

I have been working on the same thing for a company I help out.. Make sure you check out zarafa (www.zarafa.com) ... It is very, very slick...
Also,
http://www.zentyal.org/ [zentyal.org] is a great project. Integrated tools, based on Ubuntu Long Term Server.. includes a Samba PDC and file server, LDAP, chat, zarafa, etc. There is also VPN, and internet gateway tools as well.. Pretty slick tool for quick to get started.

External facing servers are small potatoes (1)

zerofoo (262795) | more than 2 years ago | (#39446827)

My small company runs a webserver on Ubuntu, we have an internet facing exchange server, and an SSL VPN appliance.

Internally we have 30 or so windows/mac servers.

Externally it appears that we are using lots of open source software, but internally we are using practically none. Still, 10 years ago we were using no open source software, so OSS use is growing - at least at my company.

-ted

not so quick on the draw in limiting F500 and OSS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39447765)

Not so long ago. Say four years ago, I was asked to come up with four open source alternatives to the components in Hummingbird Exceed for the Engineering group of a F500 company. Spinning ahead to the future the result was XMing, Putty /ssh, wc3270, WinSCP, Filezilla. The installers were packaged as a 32 bit chained installer. Each tool was configured for the environment. The install just over a minute, The uninstall completed in 37 seconds with no reboot.

So, to answer the questions about 'proof' I can speak of several apps that took the place of one very expensive app.

Also, they were accepted (blessed by Enterprise Applications Council) on the enterprise level.

Sometimes I wish there were less bickering on SD, and more group work towards implementing better solutions.

No questions in my mind (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39448167)

In hardware development where I work (Fortune 500 company) Linux is predominating OS. MS server installations also are there but that is only a small small fraction of that. Solaris comes distant third. One sys-admin can manage tens if not hundreds of Linux servers. Linux OS is stable, so that problems that come are either networking or server hardware, such as HP's power supplies. We're replacing HP server-blades with Cisco blades, none of that server farm is Dell, some IBMs, yes. So, Cisco is a big winner in what is going on in server-blades market. I can say that much. The other winner is RedHat.

Just like the Greeks... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39448273)

...to spend all that money trying to get something for nothing... There's a German guy out there somewhere who should own the rights to that report since he obviously loaned you the money to live on while you were playing scientist, and Zeus knows you never planned to pay him back in the first place!

The Difference between OSS and F/LOSS is ....... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39449361)

Will someone please tell me the Difference between OSS and F/LOSS in the business community ???

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