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Linux Journal: Open Source Opens Doors for Developers

Apr 15, 2001, 13:00 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Bob Gilbert)

"The typical independent software developer is a hybrid mix of hacker and business person, packing more technical knowledge than a haberdasher and a better business acumen than the average game coder. To operate successfully in both worlds, developers writing and marketing customized enterprise software must be conversant in more than the programming language du jour; they have to talk intelligently with chief financial officers, too."

"Fortunately for developers using open-source tools, MBA-buzz terms, such as return on investment (ROI) and total cost of ownership (TCO), are hard-hitting selling points built into the open-source equation. The bean counters sit up and take notice when they hear they can have a new, powerful, fully-integrated e-commerce and back-end system for a fraction of the proprietary price. You can almost hear the gears whirring inside their heads as they cubby-hole the savings into better hardware, more programming, slicker design or some non-technical aspect of the company. Of course, they can always tack it onto the bottom line; after all, money earned and not spent is profit."

"Ron Lazarus, chief operating officer at Just Sports in Irvine, California, made a leap of faith into the unknown when he opted for open-source tools to create his company's new transactional database management system. But it was also a smart business decision. Just Sports saved itself a boatload of money by using the Linux operating system and PostgreSQL, a powerful open-source database management system, all running on Apache-powered servers. The final product is fast and highly customized with functions not available to users of Microsoft, Oracle or other proprietary software."

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