The Cost Savings of FOSS: Business Success for the Wrong Reason
Apr 01, 2009, 19:31 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Bruce Byfield)
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"The increased interest in free software actually
pre-dates the recession. Last spring, when the recession was only
the concern of an eccentric minority, I talked to several venture
capitalists, all of whom reported a renewed interest in FOSS.
"The main reason for the renewed interest, Larry Augustin
suggested, was that, in contrast to the first interest in FOSS
during the Dot-Com era, FOSS had proved itself. "Before, there
weren't many examples of how to make it work. What has happened in
the last couple of years is that venture capital firms have gotten
very comfortable with the idea that they can build businesses
around open source, and there are examples of it having been done,"
such as Red Hat and MySQL. Similarly, Lisa Lambert of Intel Capital
pointed out that the close relation between FOSS and cloud
computing was partly responsible for the renewed interest.
"Yet, even a year ago, the emphasis was on various cost savings.
Lambert pointed out that, by adopting FOSS to their own purposes,
companies can bring a product to market more quickly, and exploit
niche markets that might not be worth developing with more
expensive proprietary software -- rather like new mining techniques
that make less accessible ore or oil less expensive to