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osOpinion: Launching an ecommerce site - The importance of open standards and open source

May 17, 2000, 03:59 (0 Talkback[s])

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"This paper is geared primarily to non-technical users, executives and management. It is not intended to be a technically rigorous paper but rather some general guidelines about electronic commerce and the importance of open source software in electronic commerce."

"Most secure network - Network security in the networked economy is of vital importance. As a recent break in at CD Universe showed, an online record store with three years of e-commerce experience, over 300,000 customer's credit card information combined with their personal information was lifted by Russian cracker. Undoubtedly it was the single greatest publicized e-commerce hack to date, and demonstrates the problem of not rigorously testing systems and performing regular security audits. It also highlights another problem - namely, closed source software. The piece of software which was hacked, was the closed source credit card authorization system. A recent study by Securityportal.com concluded that open source software was corrected much more quickly than closed source software from Microsoft and Sun Microsystems. Having the source code allows you to have the source vetted, corrected and modified to fit your companies needs. Without the source code, you just might find your platform orphaned with no place to go."

"Not having the source code to your company's internal e-mail client isn't that important. Not having the source code to your e-commerce solution can prove devastating. For example, in June 1999, ICat, a division of Intel and at that time a leading e-commerce solution, informed its entire customer base that ICat would no longer be supported. ICat also informed these customers that they would be bound by the terms of their license and no source code would be forthcoming."

"The lesson here is clear, stability of the system and the ability to remain up under heavy loads is critical and probably 99.99 uptime should be the operating goal of an e-commerce initiative. Once again, I would recommend taking a look at software that is open source, has been peer reviewed and professionally developed. Ask about uptime as well as total cost of ownership. You are betting the future of your business on it."

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