Open Source Software For Big Business: Who’s Doing It?

Open Source Software For Big Business: Who’s Doing It?

September 25

Open source isn’t the way of the future. It’s the way right now!

People are discovering that instead of shelling out big bucks for Microsoft’s latest office productivity suite, they can get their office tools in alternatives that are a lot cheaper and more flexible license-wise. Day by day, the business community is learning that size does not matter.

In the Future of Open Source Survey, Black Duck Software found that 78 percent of businesses use open source software. These companies reported to favoring open source over proprietary solutions for three reasons.

  1. 42 percent cited an easier handling of deployment
  2. 55 percent cited that it better scalability
  3. 58 percent cited superior security

Google is arguably the best known example, but the search guru is only one of several giants scoring big with open source software.

Twitter: An Open Social Revolution

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Social media powerhouse Twitter is powered by thousands of Linux servers. The company uses a mix of distros to customize a production environment that meets specialized needs for staff and tweeters alike. Linux provides flexibility and stability that allows Twitter to tailor a reliable, rapid-fire social networking experience for the legions of who users depend on the service every day. When sizing up its menu of open source projects, it’s clear to see that Twitter’s role in the movement goes well beyond usage.

Twitter is a prime example of not only using what’s available, but making and tweaking your own. Its contributions are largely comprised of lightweight utilities made for optimizing the microblogging platform, like the distributed tracing tool Zipkin. However, some of its open source projects are built around community legends such as MySQL and Apache Hadoop. Twitter recruits new members into the global community by making them agree to a sort of code of conduct before working on one project or another.

Sony: Keeping Gamers Engaged!

WordPress is more than a piece of free software. It’s a movement in and of itself. Take a look at this infographic for a summary of 2014 for WordPress.

At one point, the newest version was seeing a million downloads every two days. I’m no technical wiz, but there was a point where I just couldn’t hack WP administration. Now I can handle simple design and management tasks using minimal plugins and absolutely no code! This is due to great system upgrades, not any brilliance on my part. An ideal combination of power and simplicity has made WordPress the perfect platform for some of the biggest names in the business world.

Sony makes slick use of the WordPress foundation with the PlayStation Blog. The site plays the straightforward blog by cranking out vibrant posts on upcoming game titles and important system updates. Gamers can even log into their PlayStation Network accounts from the home page, so there’s no need to venture to another site. The blog is theheart of PlayStation social community and WordPress runs the show with ease. From providing convenient forum access to warranty information, Sony’s an open source example of user experience done right.

Ebay: High-Volume Collaboration

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WordPress might be the king of open source content management be it not for Joomla. Like WordPress, Joomla is a fine option for blogs and traditional websites. The difference lies in functionality. Sure, WordPress can do a lot of neat things, but Joomla can do even more, arguably with greater efficiency. Right out of the box comes a platform with features that can support massive communities and reach new heights when plugging in its many extensions.

Joomla’s extensive content management capabilities have attracted high profile users the likes of Ebay, who shows us what an open source CMS can do in a private setting. The Internet auction giant uses Joomla to power its massive corporate network, which caters to several thousands employees. Joomla gives the Ebay IT team secure access to social networking profiles and seamless project collaboration while collecting critical system data the company feeds into analytics. Flexible open source licensing means you can run a Joomla intranet beside your Joomla powered website and keep your IT operations flowing harmoniously.

Barclays: Corporate Cost Cutting At Its Best

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Cost factor is the most attractive facet of open source software on the surface. The one thing this movement has done is let the world know that somewhere out there exists an app that is just as good as, if not better, than what you already pay for. While open source doesn’t automatically translate to free, major savings can be realized when factoring in licenses and how much they cost per go. You can say small businesses are more needy, but even the biggest corporations have an addiction to saving. Just ask Barclays.

The London-based institution hordes over $2 trillion in assets – and its pinching pennies where possible. Back in 2013, The Sunday Times reported that Barclays had cut its IT spending on new app development by a whopping 90 percent. This was after switching to Linux and deploying an internal private cloud. The story was a big deal at the time as some considered it a slight to commercial OS vendors it had invested in heavily prior. I can’t imagine Barclays being too broke up over a decision that reportedly netted the bank billions in savings.

GE: Leading Open Innovation

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Above all, the open source concept represents freedom. Like Google borrowed the Linux kernel for Android, anyone can take a given piece of source code then use, modify, or distribute it based on their needs. A small business can customize a set of productivity tools that meet unique office requirements. A loan developer can build a useful fitness program they sell on the mobile app market. The possibilities are endless with open source software, and some of the most unlikely brands are actively furthering the cause.

General Electric is one of the biggest supporters of the movement as both a user and a major contributor. Through its IT arm GE Software, the company recently teamed up with the Cloud Foundry Foundation to launch the Industrial Dojo project. Deployed on Cloud Foundry’s agile cloud platform, Industrial Dojo is an educational program designed to help aspiring developers contribute code faster and better absorb the core technologies they’re working with. This open source project is one of several GE initiatives that centers on building the digital economy with untethered technology.

64 percent of respondents from the Future of Open Source Survey reported to immediately thinking open source software before proprietary solutions even enter the equation. It’s yet another sign that the movement has made monumental strides. Another reason for the community to stand up and be proud.