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Open source adoption lags

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Although SA is still lagging behind when it comes to embracing open source software, the increase in adoption has been growing at a steady pace.

This is according to Linux Warehouse, a distributor of enterprise open source software for Southern Africa

However, SA has seen an increase because companies have been facing financial pressures, says general manager of Linux Warehouse Shannon Moodley. “The open source market is quite mature; most of the large banks and telcos use open source in some way or form and many do so in mission critical environments.”

In line with this, ITWeb and The Linux Warehouse have collaborated to carry out an Open Source Software Survey to ascertain the level of use of open source and vendor-supported software, as well as identifying potential areas where marketing and education could add value back into the market on the solutions available.

Moodley says vendor-supported software is a paid-for subscription, which entitles users to updates, certification, flexibility, support and long-term stability.

She says open source is developed in a fundamentally different way and typically produces better and more secure software. “The software has a higher rate of innovation; customers have greater visibility into the product design and implementation.”

“Innovation [and] openness are the key benefits of open source. This, coupled with a vendor providing roadmaps, support, professional services and certification, rivals most proprietary offerings,” she points out.

“It is critical that management understands the dangers of technology and vendor lock-in, as well as the value that vendor-supported open source software provides,” Moodley advises.

“In my opinion, we are beginning to notice a huge mind shift,” she says. “Both large and small businesses are seeing the value of vendor-supported open source software.” However, she says, smaller companies do tend to use less open source, and those that do, tend to use community open source.

Gartner says the open source software model is not anti-commercial, but it doesn't depend on commercial success. It also points out that more conservative open-source adopters will require a more robust commercial support channel for open-source solutions than technologically aggressive adopters.

“In these cases, users must often accept compromises between the 'open' nature of the open source software model and the competitive realities of commercial software providers, Gartner says.

Related story:
Open source security has upper hand

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