HP: Open Source Here to Stay

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2003-07-10 Print this article Print

Speaking at this week's O'Reilly Open Source Convention, HP's Stormy Peters discusses why businesses should consider open sourcing software.

PORTLAND—Open-source software has significantly affected Hewlett-Packards business, with its open source review board looking at between two and 10 new open-source and Linux products a week, Stormy Peters, who runs HPs open source program office, said in her keynote address here on Thursday. In a talk titled "The Business of Open Source in the Enterprise" at the OReilly Open Source Convention (Oscon) here, Peters said open-source software is here to stay, evidenced by the growth of Linux in the server market. Open source is not successful because it is free, as the software component comprises a small part of total costs to an enterprise, but because it is effective, she said.
In a rationale for why businesses should consider open sourcing software, Peters said it could commoditize a market they did not control; could make a product or technology pervasive; could lower the products overall cost; and could promote hardware or other value-add components.
Open sourcing could also create a custom solution for customers that would then allow companies to provide profitable services in relation to that product; it could also allow vendors to exit a business by giving the code to the community; and could allow businesses to leverage resources from others. But there are instances when open sourcing technologies is not a good idea, particularly if the product is a control point for a company, such as Microsofts Windows domination of the desktop market, she said. "The cost of open sourcing some products also does not justify the benefit, particularly if it involves the misdirection and refocusing of resources and if the intellectual property risk cannot be justified.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at www.eweek.com.


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