Open Source

What Value Does Open Source Have For Business?

Jessica Thornsby

How open sourcing a project, can result in business success.

What value does open source have for businesses? According to
Simon Phipps, plenty.

In a recent blog post he pinpoints four ways in which open
sourcing a project, can lead to business success.

The first, lies in the fact that open source software can be
used for any purpose, which means that anyone can work out a
solution they’re experiencing with the code. This independence
makes open source software more attractive to the user, and will
encourage customers to opt for your business over the closed
competition. Secondly, open sourcing a project exposes it to the
vibrant world of open source tooling and consultants, and software
that’s open sourced can spread rapidly throughout the community due
to the inherent freedom to pass it on to anyone. This increases
adoption, and can create a buzz around your product.

There is also added reassurance when a company open sources a
project because, even if they pull the plug on support in the
future, independent developers can continue working on the code.
There’s also the possibility of another company stepping in and
taking charge of the abandoned project. The aftermath of Oracle’s
acquisition of Sun is a perfect example of this, with ForgeRock

pledging to continue
the development of Sun’s OpenSSO access
management and federation server platform, under the new brand of
OpenAM. There have also been
calls for the community
to fork OpenSolaris. The inherent
reassurance that an open source project will always be moving
forward – as long as there’s one person out there interested in
developing it – makes this sort of software attractive to the

“When software users are deciding which suppliers to deal with,
they need to know whether their software freedoms are being
respected and cultivated,” writes Phipps. Clearly, open source is a
big draw for customers and, whatever can potentially increase your
customer base, has got to be worth some serious consideration.

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