Open Source 2009: It’s the Economy, Stupid. Or is it?

"I had not yet finished my first cup of coffee and I was convinced that the world was ending, but for the saving grace of open source."

About a week before attending the Open Source Business Conference last month, I heard an interview on public radio with the founder of Good News Network, a web site dedicated to reporting nothing but — you guessed it — good news.

This intrigued me as I prepared to attend OSBC, the Open Source Business Conference, because I wondered what the tone of the conference would be like in the context of the global economic [insert your favorite term here: downturn, crisis, meltdown, recession…].

I was especially interested to hear some of the same people who spoke one year ago, just as it was starting to dawn on most of us that perhaps the economic party was over.

For those who want to skip to the end, here is a read on the situation:

Good news: Open source companies are alive and well.

Bad news: It may be that nobody cares (more on this later).

Good news: Nobody cares. Solve a problem, and you make the sale.

Really good news: Open source will lead us from the wilderness. (Or at least that’s the dogma du jour.)

Recession + Open Source = The Promised Land

Anyone who expected to attend OSBC and NOT hear about the recession was quickly disabused of that notion. Conference Chair Matt Asay opened by pointing to “the worst economy many of us have ever seen” with a video showing how the brutal economy means “it’s time” for open source.

Asay identified “new realties” regarding the business use of open source software, all of which made perfect sense:

  1. Not using open source is risky: open source represents a lower acquisition cost (free is good), but vendor lock-in and potential obsolescence associated with commercial software are effectively eliminated.
  2. We need to expand the open source development model to enterprise IT. That is, big companies have to contribute to the community in a much more meaningful way.
  3. (This is a big one): “We’re past the purity debate.” In other words, who cares what is open source and what is not. Companies just need their software to work.

So: the economy sucks and open source rocks. Bring on the first keynote.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but opening keynote speaker Novell CEO Ron Hovsepian made the case that a shrinking GDP, cautious CFOs and general uncertainty translates into IT spending cuts of up to 10 percent. He then declared that “open source will be the largest beneficiary of this economic downturn.”

I had not yet finished my first cup of coffee and I was convinced that the world was ending, but for the saving grace of open source.

RedHat CEO Jim Whitehurst continued the theme in his afternoon keynote. Whitehurst was a speaker last year, and in his 2008 speech he pointed out that ill economic breezes were kicking up. This year, in so many words, he said I told you so and by the way, “This is a fantastic time for open source.” He said that tough economic times cause people to re-think strategies and that RedHat came into its own after the dot.com bust. It should be noted that the next day, RedHat released its quarterly results, which basically hit the ball out of the park.

Next up, a group panel moderated by Jim Zemlin of the Linux Foundation featured Whitehurst and a group of open source end-users including K.S. Bhaskar of Fidelity Information Services, Timothy Golden of Bank of America and Vinod Kutty of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange.

What struck me about this panel was its utter banality. And I mean that in a good way. Here were a bunch of people whose success depends on the effective use of technology basically saying things like, “It just has to work, and open source does.” And again, the consensus was that the economy has caused businesses to give open source a second look and isn’t that wonderful.

I was sitting next to the CEO of an open source company who leaned over to me and said that this panel was boring and that we all seem to be in agreement here. I responded that I thought that was a good thing. It seemed the time really has arrived for open source.

“I Had Some Dreams They Were Clouds in My Coffee.”


Did I mention “clouds”? No. Well, consider them mentioned. Cloud computing was another major thrust of many presentations. Hovespian made sure to get it in there. Sun Microsystems CEO Jonathan Schwartz (who at the time was up to his ponytail in IBM acquisition talks) kicked off his keynote by dismissing open source right from the top. “It’s a given,” he said. “The more interesting thing is what happens after open source.”

That would be…clouds. He mentioned the announcement a week earlier of (wait for it)… the Sun Cloud in his keynote that opened the second day. The “arc” of open source includes adoption by end users, then companies that can deliver commercial support and products to those who need it and are willing to pay for it. This is the “users versus customers” distinction and, according to Schwartz (and many other CEOs of open source companies), this makes open source the ultimate lead-gen channel.

Even the entertaining Robert Youngjohns, President of Microsoft North America, concluded his remarks by emphasizing Microsoft’s strong support for clouds. (But not before taking a couple of shots at open source. To paraphrase: Free is not necessarily cheaper and Does everybody really want to be in the software business?

He pointed out that Microsoft customers are not either/or types of businesses and as such, Microsoft is partnering with Linux software companies. Microsoft is “…making sure we support open source code, where it’s appropriate and where it’s applicable.” According to who? Microsoft? I’m not sure the good folks at Microsoft should be the arbiters of what is and is not appropriate on behalf of their customers. Maybe the customers should decide and demand that Microsoft go along.

Next: Venture Funding Anyone?

Comments on "Open Source 2009: It’s the Economy, Stupid. Or is it?"

I was suggested this web site by means of my cousin. I am no longer sure whether this post is written through him as no one else recognise such specified approximately my problem. You’re incredible! Thanks!

Thank you for sharing excellent informations. Your website is very cool. I am impressed by the details that you have on this web site. It reveals how nicely you perceive this subject. Bookmarked this web page, will come back for more articles. You, my pal, ROCK! I found just the info I already searched all over the place and just could not come across. What an ideal web site.

Thank you a lot for providing individuals with an exceptionally memorable opportunity to check tips from this blog. It can be very pleasant plus jam-packed with fun for me personally and my office colleagues to search your blog at least three times in a week to find out the newest things you have got. And indeed, I’m at all times contented for the spectacular principles you serve. Some 1 tips in this post are without a doubt the best we’ve ever had.

Hey very nice web site!! Man .. Excellent .. Amazing .. I’ll bookmark your blog and take the feeds also…I’m happy to find numerous useful info here in the post, we need develop more strategies in this regard, thanks for sharing. . . . . .

Thanks for your article on the traveling industry. I might also like to add that if you are one senior taking into consideration traveling, its absolutely essential that you buy traveling insurance for elderly people. When traveling, older persons are at biggest risk of having a healthcare emergency. Obtaining right insurance plan package for the age group can safeguard your health and give you peace of mind.

Hello there! Would you mind if I share your blog with my twitter group? There’s a lot of people that I think would really enjoy your content. Please let me know. Thanks

I’ve been surfing online more than three hours today, yet I never found any interesting article like yours. It is pretty worth enough for me. In my opinion, if all site owners and bloggers made good content as you did, the web will be a lot more useful than ever before.

I have not checked in here for a while as I thought it was getting boring, but the last few posts are good quality so I guess I will add you back to my daily bloglist. You deserve it my friend :)

I must show my thanks to the writer for bailing me out of this type of trouble. As a result of surfing around throughout the internet and finding methods which were not helpful, I thought my entire life was done. Existing without the presence of solutions to the problems you have fixed by means of your main guide is a critical case, and those that might have adversely damaged my career if I had not discovered your web blog. Your training and kindness in touching every aspect was important. I am not sure what I would have done if I had not come upon such a thing like this. I am able to at this point relish my future. Thank you so much for the skilled and amazing help. I will not think twice to endorse your web blog to any individual who would need tips on this subject.

Undeniably consider that which you stated. Your favorite reason appeared to be at the internet the simplest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I definitely get annoyed even as other folks consider concerns that they just do not recognise about. You controlled to hit the nail upon the top and defined out the entire thing with no need side-effects , people can take a signal. Will probably be again to get more. Thanks

Thanks for expressing your ideas. Something is that learners have a selection between national student loan along with a private education loan where its easier to go for student loan debt consolidation loan than with the federal education loan.

Hmm it appears like your blog ate my first comment (it was super long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I submitted and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I too am an aspiring blog writer but I’m still new to everything. Do you have any suggestions for beginner blog writers? I’d definitely appreciate it.

My brother suggested I would possibly like this website. He was once entirely right. This publish truly made my day. You cann’t consider just how a lot time I had spent for this info! Thank you!

I have noticed that in video cameras, specialized detectors help to focus automatically. Those kind of sensors regarding some video cameras change in contrast, while others start using a beam with infra-red (IR) light, specially in low light. Higher specification cameras often use a combination of both devices and will often have Face Priority AF where the dslr camera can ‘See’ any face and focus only in that. Thank you for sharing your thinking on this blog site.

I loved as much as you’ll receive carried out right here. The sketch is attractive, your authored subject matter stylish. nonetheless, you command get bought an impatience over that you wish be delivering the following. unwell unquestionably come more formerly again since exactly the same nearly a lot often inside case you shield this hike.

I do love the manner in which you have framed this particular situation plus it really does present me personally a lot of fodder for consideration. Nevertheless, through what precisely I have personally seen, I basically hope when the commentary pack on that people keep on point and in no way embark on a soap box associated with the news of the day. Anyway, thank you for this fantastic piece and although I do not necessarily agree with it in totality, I regard your perspective.

Hello there, just became aware of your blog through Google, and found that it’s truly informative. I am gonna watch out for brussels. I will be grateful if you continue this in future. Numerous people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

Currently it sounds like WordPress is the preferred blogging platform out there right now. (from what I’ve read) Is that what you are using on your blog?

Great beat ! I would like to apprentice whilst you amend your site, how can i subscribe for a weblog site? The account helped me a acceptable deal. I were a little bit acquainted of this your broadcast provided vibrant clear idea

Great post. I used to be checking constantly this blog and I am inspired! Extremely helpful information specially the final phase :) I take care of such information a lot. I was seeking this certain info for a very lengthy time. Thanks and good luck.

nail designs pinterest pink

Terrific work! That is the kind of info that are supposed to be shared around the net. Disgrace on Google for now not positioning this submit higher! Come on over and seek advice from my website . Thanks =)

I just could not depart your site prior to suggesting that I actually enjoyed the standard information a person provide for your visitors? Is going to be back often in order to check up on new posts

Do you mind if I quote a few of your posts as long as I provide credit and sources back to your blog? My blog site is in the very same area of interest as yours and my users would certainly benefit from a lot of the information you present here. Please let me know if this alright with you. Thanks!

I’ve been exploring for a little for any high-quality articles or blog posts on this kind of area . Exploring in Yahoo I at last stumbled upon this site. Reading this information So i’m happy to convey that I have a very good uncanny feeling I discovered exactly what I needed. I most certainly will make certain to do not forget this website and give it a look regularly.

Hey, you used to write excellent, but the last several posts have been kinda boring… I miss your great writings. Past few posts are just a bit out of track! come on!

A formidable share, I simply given this onto a colleague who was doing a bit evaluation on this. And he actually purchased me breakfast as a result of I discovered it for him.. smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the treat! However yeah Thnkx for spending the time to discuss this, I really feel strongly about it and love reading more on this topic. If possible, as you turn into expertise, would you thoughts updating your blog with extra details? It’s highly useful for me. Huge thumb up for this blog publish!

you’re truly a just right webmaster. The web site loading pace is amazing. It seems that you’re doing any unique trick. Furthermore, The contents are masterwork. you have performed a fantastic job on this subject!

What’s Happening i’m new to this, I stumbled upon this I have found It absolutely useful and it has aided me out loads. I am hoping to contribute & help different users like its helped me. Good job.

Hello this is kinda of off topic but I was wanting to know if blogs use WYSIWYG editors or if you have to manually code with HTML. I’m starting a blog soon but have no coding know-how so I wanted to get guidance from someone with experience. Any help would be greatly appreciated!

Really enjoyed this update, can I set it up so I get an email sent to me whenever there is a fresh article?

Thanks for giving your ideas listed here. The other issue is that every time a problem arises with a personal computer motherboard, people today should not have some risk with repairing it themselves because if it is not done properly it can lead to permanent damage to an entire laptop. It’s usually safe just to approach your dealer of that laptop with the repair of its motherboard. They have got technicians who definitely have an expertise in dealing with pc motherboard complications and can make the right diagnosis and execute repairs.

I have been surfing on-line greater than 3 hours as of late, yet I never discovered any interesting article like yours. It’s lovely value enough for me. In my opinion, if all site owners and bloggers made good content as you probably did, the internet will likely be a lot more helpful than ever before.

After study a number of of the weblog posts on your web site now, and I truly like your manner of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark web site checklist and will probably be checking again soon. Pls try my website as properly and let me know what you think.

A powerful share, I just given this onto a colleague who was doing just a little evaluation on this. And he in fact bought me breakfast as a result of I found it for him.. smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the deal with! But yeah Thnkx for spending the time to debate this, I really feel strongly about it and love reading extra on this topic. If possible, as you grow to be experience, would you mind updating your blog with extra details? It’s highly useful for me. Large thumb up for this blog publish!

Hello there! Quick question that’s totally off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My web site looks weird when browsing from my iphone 4. I’m trying to find a theme or plugin that might be able to correct this problem. If you have any suggestions, please share. With thanks!

F*ckin’ remarkable things here. I am very glad to see your post. Thanks a lot and i am looking forward to contact you. Will you please drop me a mail?

Hola! I’ve been reading your website for some time now and finally got the courage to go ahead and give you a shout out from Kingwood Tx! Just wanted to tell you keep up the fantastic work!

[...] Trackback [...]

If you have a small company and were able to include some kinds of promotion for your company into a appealing and appealing video, then you too might see millions of audiences in only a few weeks. With specialist recommendations, your little business might utilize video marketing to produce more leads, boost sales, develop a loyal customer base and develop more brand name awareness, all utilizing the least pricey and most effective marketing strategy readily available today.

Very couple of internet sites that happen to be detailed beneath, from our point of view are undoubtedly properly worth checking out.

Here are some hyperlinks to web pages that we link to simply because we think they are really worth visiting.

Just beneath, are a lot of entirely not related web-sites to ours, nonetheless, they may be certainly really worth going over.

I just want to mention I am just new to weblog and seriously savored your web site. Probably I’m planning to bookmark your website . You amazingly come with wonderful article content. Thanks for sharing with us your website.

I just want to mention I am beginner to weblog and seriously liked this web-site. Likely I’m planning to bookmark your blog post . You definitely come with amazing writings. Regards for sharing your blog.

Every the moment inside a while we opt for blogs that we study. Listed beneath are the most up-to-date websites that we select.

We came across a cool website that you just could love. Take a search for those who want.

Leave a Reply