Opening Up to Open Source

Opinion: Not only is open source proving itself cost-effective, but the industry around it is maturing.

Nothing says "mission critical" more than peoples money. The technology platforms that support retirement accounts, 401(k) plans, corporate pensions and insurance annuities must be reliable, secure and adaptable. Thats why mutual fund company Fidelity Investments is looking to increase its investment in open-source software.

Its been a long time since open source became "ready for the enterprise." Fidelity took baby steps with Linux a few years ago and has continued to build on that ever since, Charles Brenner, vice president of Fidelitys Center for Applied Technology, told eWEEK Senior Editor Darryl K. Taft in this weeks issue.

Open source has been cost-effective for Fidelity, but another reason for this expansion is that while open software has matured, so has the industry around it. Although startups still predominate, in the past year all the major technology vendors have made significant open-source moves, either by releasing their own software under free licenses or by acquiring smaller vendors to bolster their open-source support. Open source has not, as some predicted, been the death of the corporate software model. But it is indeed transforming it. "I firmly believe that the pressure from open-source projects has already upped the ante for large corporations to adapt" to opening up their businesses to open-source opportunities, said Greg Roy, senior systems engineer at Flight Centre North America.

In our continuing coverage of the Hurricane Katrina disaster, eWEEK Corporate Partners got their chance to comment on the lessons it taught disaster recovery and business continuity planners. For some Corporate Partners, Katrina brought back similar discussions following the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. In both cases, the "people" part of recovery and continuity was overlooked. "Even the consultants we talk to today still primarily ignore that," said Robert Rosen. "Theyre focused on the technology, but if people cant get there, what do you do?" About all you can do, said another Corporate Partner, since you cannot support all contingencies, is to at least build a system in which you are ready to respond, somehow, when disaster does strike.

eWEEK wants to welcome back one of its own, Mary Jo Foley. Her new monthly feature, Window on Microsoft, found in this issue, will catch up eWEEK readers on whats going on behind the scenes at Microsoft. Foley covered Microsoft for PC Week in the heyday of the 1990s. Now she is the editor of Ziff Davis Medias Web site and Microsoft Watch newsletter. Were happy to have Foleys insight and expertise back in our pages.

eWEEK magazine editor Scot Petersen can be reached at

Scot Petersen

Scot Petersen

Scot Petersen is a technology analyst at Ziff Brothers Investments, a private investment firm. Prior to joining Ziff Brothers, Scot was the editorial director, Business Applications & Architecture,...