Open source programs have been regarded with little validity and much skepticism over the years. The concept that a program creator would allow their work and product to be accessed downloaded and used with no payment seems backwards and counterproductive in our capitalist market.
One company is helping break down the barriers between truths and realities of open sourcing is MySQL. This start up company of young and talented individuals has made itself known in the programming community. Their main product an open source database system made the company grow.
After supporting record downloads, up to 60,000 a day, MySQL decided to sell or Sun Microsystems for $1 billion. Now as Sun Microsystems is being bought out by Oracle, the value of MySQL and open sourced material is being debated.
The European Union and other European regulators call the database system created by MySQL “the database of the people” and a “low cost alternative to the Oracle systems.” With Oracle owning the open source software and the traditional licensed software, industry officials are worried about the protection of the open sourced software.
“In the current economic context, all companies are looking for cost-effective I.T. solutions, and systems based on open-source software are increasingly emerging as viable alternatives to proprietary solutions,” said Neelie Kroes, the European Commission’s Competition Chief.
Currently, there is an open source option for nearly every commercial software product, and these open source products have continually put pressure on their commercial counter points. Traditional companies have begun to use the open source software to offset the hefty price tag of many computer programs
Just as MySQL is seen as a valuable asset in the Oracle acquisition, Red Hat has shown that open source can make money.
Red Hat produces a variant of the Linux operating system for server computers and offers a free version of its product. For their sales they rely heavily on support services and tools. Despite the bad economy Red Hat’s revenue in the last fiscal year rose 25%.
Along with the progress Red Hat is making in adding credibility to the open source world, cyber giants’ Google and IBM are also championing open source programs such as Google docs, which rivals desktop editing software.
Now most open source product producing companies have one specific program developed. In years past, developers hoped for a giant open source conglomerate to rise from the small start-ups. Years later, no conglomerate has immerged.
Instead, smaller but influential companies such as MySQL will continue to merge with larger license based producers at premium rates.