Open source gives enterprises

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2005-10-03 Print this article Print

more choice"> For his part, Brenner said Fidelity has concentrated on open-source developer tools and platforms. "Were basically trying to create a stack parallel to our proprietary stack, both on the Java side and on the .Net side" of developer tool sets, he said. "Thats been the thrust for the last year or so. And were beginning now to move into database applications and higher-lever applications that are going to be coming in the future."

Strasnick said CitiStreet also uses open-source development tools. "In these economic times, we actually feel there is more stability with open source, as opposed to concerns about how much money a particular vendor will continue to invest in a proprietary product," he said.

"Open-source software often provides the highest-quality solutions to a specific problem," said Cory Ondrejka, vice president of product development at Linden Lab, in San Francisco. Ondrejka said Linden Lab uses Debian GNU/Linux, MySQL, Apache, Squid, Nagios and Mono, as well as GNU development tools such as GCC (GNU Compiler Collection), G++, GDB and Emacs open-source components.

Indeed, open source provides enterprises with more choice, Ondrejka said. "[Yet] more importantly, perhaps, is the knowledge that the open-source community provides solid, cross-platform solutions to a wide variety of problems," Ondrejka said.

Moreover, open-source solutions generally require a little more technical expertise than their full commercial counterparts, "but [vendors] are making great leaps in this arena, especially with companies like OpenLogic [Inc.] now offering suites that preconfigure a group of products," Chem-Fabs Hess said.

"As companies get leaner, staffs are stretched further and thinner and budgets continually shrink, and IT is no exception," said Hess. "So in my case, Im not only the IT director, Im also my companys lead developer. As such, I can get a lot more software for my budget dollars by using open source, and I would rather spend my time developing solutions than tweaking J2EE [Suns Java 2 Platform, Enterprise Edition] server components."

The CEO of JBoss says that open source is a force to be reckoned with. Click here to read more. Paul DOyley, technology director at Seattle-based Blue Frog Mobile Inc., said availability, performance, market dominance and price attracted Blue Frog to open-source software. In addition, DOyley said adopting an open-source philosophy has given Blue Frog a competitive edge.

"When starting a new company, it is critical to capture the market quickly and on a minimal budget," DOyley said. "Not only are the capital expenditures nonexistent, Blue Frog Mobile saved weeks of time by avoiding RFPs [requests for proposals], contracts and negotiations.

"Open source allowed a development team to be gathered quickly and begin production development immediately," he said. "By leveraging existing software, methods and architectures, our development team quickly assembled a presence in the wireless industry."

Blue Frog uses a combination of open-source technology, including Linux, MySQL, JBoss, Asterisk, PHP and more, DOyley said.

Meanwhile, although CitiStreet prefers to go with open-source solutions across the board, "We are not yet comfortable with using something like MySQL for the size databases we utilize," Strasnick said. "Instead, our default continues to be IBM DB2—but potentially on Linux now, in lieu of AIX or HP-UX—for any new applications we are building."

Andy Astor, CEO of EnterpriseDB, in Edison, N.J., said Strasnick is just the kind of customer he looks for because he said he believes MySQL cannot scale to the same degree EnterpriseDB can. EnterpriseDB sells an enterprise-class open-source database.

However, Corey Ostman, director of new-technology initiatives at LLC, in Los Angeles, said he is quite satisfied with MySQL, which PriceGrabber chose over Oracle.

Next Page: Eclipse project brings open source into Java tools space.

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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