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Will Open Source Versions Unseat Proprietary Operating Systems?


In today’s difficult economic climate, both businesses and individual consumers are looking toward cost-effective solutions for their computing needs. While various versions of Microsoft’s Windows dominate the marketplace—recent reports suggest almost 91 percent of computers run Windows—one can’t help but wonder whether users will turn to open source operating systems as they continue to improve.

Microsoft has yet to lower its licensing fees for Windows, which account for as much as 30 to 40 percent of the price of computers. Open source platforms—like Linux’s Ubuntu and Google Chrome—are becoming increasingly popular due to the fact that they are free and that much of the computing world is becoming Web-based. Rather than needing Microsoft Word to type a document, for example, someone can use Google Docs for free, storing his or her work in the cloud. In fact, 22 percent of all of the school districts in the United States are using Chromebooks, according to Google’s Chromebook Vice President Caesar Sengupta.

When Chromebooks were first released, all users could do was surf the Web on the machines. But technology has evolved since then and the functionality of the machines has progressed to allow users to use other programs—like social networking sites and Dropbox. And that’s all for about $300.

It remains to be seen if and when the number of open source operating systems in use will leap ahead of their proprietary counterparts. While the number of applications and system functions available in such operating systems continues to increase, one could reasonably conclude that adoption rates will increase correspondingly.

Here’s Why You Should Invest in Open Source Software


Realizing the benefits of reduced costs, faster time-to-market and flexibility, open source software is becoming exceedingly integrated into the technological infrastructure of many companies. Rather than being locked in to proprietary solutions, businesses that leverage open source technology are free to choose the precise technology that works best for them.

Many decision makers have already realized just how transformative open source software can be. If you’re a business owner who has yet to employ open source solutions, here are three reasons why you should:

  1. Cost savings: Let’s face it: Businesses across all verticals are trying to do whatever they possibly can to reduce expenses. In today’s difficult economic climate, companies can’t afford to spend money unnecessarily. Rather than opening their collective wallets and employing proprietary solutions, businesses are turning toward their free, open source counterparts—without compromising functionality.
  2. Quality: Rather than having to build from the ground up, businesses that leverage open source code get a proverbial head start when it comes to programming. Because open source code is reviewed, tested and tweaked by a strong community of developers, the code is polished by the time companies use it. Businesses that leverage open source code can invest more money and time building on top of it rather than having to direct those resources toward testing code written in-house.
  3. Flexibility: Companies that leverage open source code are also able to exude agility in today’s fast-paced business world. If the market is demanding one thing, decision makers can quickly adapt to those trends. What’s more, businesses aren’t bound to a particular proprietary vendor when using open source solutions. That means that they can use solutions that are tailored to meet specific needs.

The benefits of open source technology don’t stop there, so what other benefits can you think of? Let us know in the comments below!

Heartbleed Unveiled Thanks to Open Source Code


Odds are that by now you’ve heard of Heartbleed, the recently revealed serious security flaw affecting large swaths of the Internet. But because the vulnerability exists in OpenSSL—an open source implementation of SSL encryption—some pundits have been debating whether open source is to blame for Heartbleed.  Others, on the other hand, suggest that the security flaw was spotted only because of one of open source’s benefits: the fact that a community of inspired developers can scan and edit the code with frequency.

The Heartbleed bug affects a function called Heartbeat, which, is essentially a frequent questions/answer exchange between a user machine and a website in order to keep the communication going. For this purpose, random data packets were to be exchanged.  It turns out that a hacker can force the so called random packets to actually contain confidential information.

Robin Seggelmann, who submitted the buggy code, admitted that he “missed the necessary validation by oversight.” What’s more, the bug wasn’t spotted during the review process for OpenSSL, a project that’s written and reviewed by a community of programmers.

Despite that oversight, proponents of open source technology say that the Heartbleed bug was only exposed because of the community of programmers that were able to review the source code. In a proprietary environment, such a bug could have remained hidden.

Businesses that leverage open source code should maintain an accurate record of all open source packages used in their portfolio.  Furthermore, they should consider ways of detecting and monitoring security vulnerabilities associated with their open source packages.

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How Open Source is Revolutionizing the World of Cartography


open source cartographyOver the centuries, cartography has evolved to the point where boundaries that were once vague have become intensely specific. As new roads are built or new visions for how we should map our surroundings are conceived, cartographers translate their ideas to images in order to help us better navigate our world.

Today, more adults own smartphones than not, meaning the vast majority of consumers are carrying maps of the world in their pockets at all times. How many times have you used maps on your phone to get from Point A to Point B? When you stop and think about it, despite the fact that the world has changed drastically since Diogo Ribeiro released the first scientific world map in 1527, we still rely on cartography substantially.

Mapbox, a Washington, D.C.-based digital cartography provider, understands the importance of mapmaking and the vibrant community surrounding it. The company leverages open source technology, making it easy for users to access the work of thousands of other open source cartographers via OpenStreetMap (OSM) when moving forward with their own projects. The company focuses primarily on two areas: analyzing data and contributing data.

CEO Eric Gundersen believes that the open source licensing of data will become increasingly important to companies because of the versatility and flexibility such technology provides. Rather than having to start from scratch, programmers can leverage existing resources when moving forward with their projects. And those resources are up-to-date; once data is added to OSM databases, it’s available on Mapbox within 10 minutes.

In today’s age of technology, it has never been easier to get a map into someone’s hands—even if it’s a digital iteration. When open source technology is leveraged, those maps will become that much more helpful and that much quicker.

Measuring Open Source Management ROI


Measuring the return on investment (ROI) of open source license management tools can be difficult.  As open source adoption becomes mainstream, open source compliance management is maturing.  Organizations are moving away from manual code audits, which can be both cost and labour intensive, to real-time, automated open source scanning tools.  Check out our infographic below to learn how you can save time and effort by moving to an automated open source management process.

open source management roi

Want to learn more?  Read our ROI whitepaper, or watch the 30 minute webinar video.

How Are Governments Adopting and Benefiting From Open Source?


Take a look at some recent examples in our all government edition of open source news…

Don’t Let Licensing Issues Hold Government Open Source Adoption Back

governments open sourceSilicone Angle recently did an interview with Wes Caldwell, Chief Architect, at Intelligent Software Solutions (ISS), who provides the US department of defense with data visualization and relies heavily on open source tools.  Caldwell gave his reasons for why government should be using open source.  When asked about the biggest challenges governments face when adopting open source software, he points to licensing concerns.   Read the full story at Silicone Angle.   


The Ins and Outs of OSS at the VA

The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is the second largest government agency and a vanguard of open source adoption in US government.  In a recent interview, VA CIO Stephen Warren shared how the VA has taken advantage of open source software, especially in the realm of electronic medical records, and listed the benefits the VA receives from the open source community.  Read more at opensource.com


Open Sourcing the Political Process

They say old habits don’t die. Software developer turned congressional candidate David Cole has overlapped open source and politics, by putting his political platform on GitHub enabling anyone to comment and make suggestions.  But he is not the first; President Obama‘s order to make all government data machine-readable was put directly on GitHub.  Read more at politically Wired


Collaboration Crosses Borders

The governments of the UK and Israel have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that will enable both countries to collaborate with open source technologies.  The UK has long been a proponent of open source in government offices and Israel is increasing their adoption of open source in government, even in its military.   Read the full story at ZDnet


Goodbye XP Hello BOSS

The Tamil Nadu government in south east India has decided to make the jump to BOSS (Bharat Operating System Solutions) Linux after Microsoft ceases support of Windows XP next month.  While citing cost as the main reason for switching, they also list lowered virus threats on Linux as an incentive for moving to the open source operating system.  Read more about the decision at The Hindu


Putting Open Data To Use

Civic hacking is the practise of taking open government data and developing useful, preferably open source apps for the benefit of the citizenry.  Communities are developing open source code and sharing it with governments around the world.  Read more about civic hacking, including how to get started, here.

Trulia Releases Game-Changing Open Source Real Estate Software

open source real estate

The real estate market has recovered to some extent over the past few years and, if one company’s vision is correct, that recovery will be accelerated thanks to newly designed open source software that aims to promote industry innovation in regards to real estate applications.

Earlier this year, Trulia—a digital real estate marketplace— released  open source software that grants developers access to real estate applications using licensed data from Multiple Listing Services (MLS). The software enables developers to design their own applications that are license-compliant—all for a lower cost. Perhaps best of all, because the code is open source, it’s freely available for others to use.

“Technological barriers increase the complexity and costs of development, hampering innovating using MLS date,” explains Alon Chaver, Trulia’s vice president of industry services, in a press release. “We wanted to create open source software that reduces these barriers thereby encouraging developers to collaborate with the MLS industry and use high-quality data to build new applications that benefit the entire real estate community.”

According to the release, the Trulia Java RETS client is based on the Real Estate Transaction Standard (RETS), a technological framework that allows realtors to easily share real estate information, like home listings, online. Developers that leverage Trulia’s open source solution benefit from reduced time-to-market and development costs associated with establishing a RETS feed. This means that apps can be deployed faster—a benefit to the potential homebuyer, the homeowner selling his or her house and the real estate agent.

“We want to encourage the development of processes that benefit the entire real estate community,” says Daniele Farnedi, chief technology officer at Trulia. “Trulia’s Java RETS client software makes it easy for developers to license MLS data and allows them to focus on building useful new technology that uses the most accurate data available.”

Trulia is no stranger to the benefits of open source technology, having previously contributed to projects relating to iOS software development, geospatial technology and data visualization.


Open Source: Unseating Proprietary Software in the Internet of Things


open source internet of thingsSometimes, it’s hard enough to get the iPod you purchased three years ago to be compatible with the latest version of iTunes. Now imagine connecting your Magnavox television, your Whirlpool washing machine and your Honeywell thermostat to your iPhone.

The evolution of the Internet is leading to the increasingly pervasive Internet of Things, the idea that devices that stand to benefit from connectivity will ultimately become connected to the Internet. In an ideal world, you’d be able to manage all such devices from a central controller, like a smartphone.

From the outside looking in, getting the electronic products from a myriad of proprietors to work seamlessly with one another is an arduous task at best. Proprietors want their technology to be superior, and they want you to only support their business. With that in mind, one could see how the financial stubbornness these companies exude—albeit completely understandable—could impede the speed at which the Internet of Things evolves.

And that’s precisely where open source technology comes into the equation.

Next January, at the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show, the Linux Foundation will reveal whether a recent initiative to bring interoperability to the Internet of Things is gaining steam. Last year, the Linux Foundation created the AllSeen Alliance with a focus on ensuring that interoperability of connected devices becomes a reality.

For Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, adoption of AllSeen code is going to be a no-brainer. Rather than a company directing its programmers to write software for every product they sell, why not download that code for free and ensure interoperability?

“You are going to see a lot of products this year with this code in it,” he says.

While the AllSeen project has gained traction landing some partners like LG Electronics, Panasonic, Sharp and others, industry juggernauts like Apple and Samsung have yet to climb on board. And according to industry analyst Rob Enderle, it’s likely companies like that won’t take the leap unless they cease dominating the market, the government forces them to do so or their customers insist upon it.

“The guys who are dominating the market are unfortunately not the guys who are jumping on this particular bandwagon,” Enderle explains. “When you are dominant, you don’t like this stuff because it lets other people into your market.”

Stubbornness aside, there are too many proprietorships competing for market share for any single company to emerge dominant in the Internet of Things. And because of that, it appears that open source will surface as the technology that empowers the Internet of Things and changes all of our lives in the process.

Open Source and the Large Enterprise

open source enterprise

Because of the significant cost savings that can be realized without having to sacrifice productivity or efficiency—those get a boost as well—decision makers at large enterprises are integrating open source solutions into their business infrastructure. While, generally speaking, open source code and open source software can be acquired, altered and built upon free of charge, enterprises are increasingly deciding to open up their wallets to pay for support and ensure open source license compliance and manage open source security vulnerabilities—particularly when the technology is supporting mission-critical business functions.

Still, such expenses are still significantly lower than the costs an enterprise would have to bear should it decide to leverage proprietary solutions instead. What’s more, enterprises are keen on paying for support that guarantees that the hardware and software certifications for products are maintained in such a way that they stay on top of open source license compliance. And that’s all designed to preserve the most precious resource: time.

“We find that most businesses view time as a precious commodity,” explains Kerry Kim, director of marketing at Suse. “While they may have their own resources on hand to support a server distro in house, they find it is cheaper for them to pay for support from somebody else rather than spend their own time and effort trying to support and maintain it.”

With this in mind, pundits are noticing a trend wherein businesses are sometimes choosing to bear expenses related to commercial open source software licenses rather than leveraging the completely free open source license. That’s due to issues relating to support, open source license compliance, open source security vulnerabilities and the increased functionality that comes along with such licenses.

Enterprises generally experiment with free versions of open source software before deciding to open their wallets to pay for supported versions. And therein lies a significant benefit of the technology: Businesses that leverage open source solutions can try them for free before deciding whether they are the right fit for their business needs.

Webinar: Kostenoptimierung im Open-Source-Management


Es ist unbestritten, dass die meisten Firmen heutzutage Open-Source und Quellcode von Drittanbietern nutzen, um ihre Produktivität zu maximieren und Entwicklungskosten zu minimieren. Diesem Trend folgend sind Firmen nun zunehmend auf der Suche nach Lösungen, um die damit verbundenen Lizenzfragen und Sicherheitsrisiken effektiv zu managen. Seien Sie dabei wenn Dr. Andreas Kotulla, Leiter Protecode Deutschland, Tipps für die Rationalisierung des Open-Source-Lizenz-Management-Prozesses präsentiert.

ROI Chart

Wann: Donnerstag, 10. April 2014 um 16.00 Uhr

Was Sie lernen:

  • Rechtliche Implikationen bei der Nutzung von Open- Source
  • Die typischen Schritte in einer manuellen Open-Source-Prüfung
  • Automatisierung dieser Schritte, um „Time-to-Market“ zu reduzieren

Dauer: 45 Minuten

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