"WHEN PEOPLE TALK about the benefits of open source,
certain pluses inevitably head the list. Usually the first to come
up is the cost of acquisition. The fact that open-source software
is typically available for free is notable, even if it is not the
most important aspect of the software. This inevitably leads to
arguments over total cost of ownership, which can also be a potent
reason for using open source.
But the most powerful reason for using open-source software in
business is often ignored. This crucial benefit is control --
control over the functionality of the software that fuels your
business, and hence control over your business itself.
Consider this scenario: You are building a corporation with the
intention of eventually dominating your market. You set out to
build the best team you can muster. You carefully hire expensive,
top-level managers who know the industry, know the competition, and
know the customers. You painstakingly gather the technical talent
necessary to create the products and services that will define your
company. And you instruct the team to implement a plan that will
put the corporation on the road to success."