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Wireless Utopia

The journey towards a free wireless world.

Open Source == Innovation?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

As per this report sponsored by European Union, switching to open source software increases the short term costs but leads to significant savings in the long term. The Total Cost of Ownership therefore is lower compared to Proprietary software. Followers and believers have always claimed this. They stand vindicated at least. Its great to see Open Source Software getting backing from government organizations. It is a proof how it has fundamentally changed the dynamics of the software business.

But if you read the report carefully (beware, its a huge one), you'll find a recurrent theme in it. Open Source software has become a hub for innovation. Technologically they are better, if not equal, to most of the proprietary software out there. And it is not difficult to see why. The philosophy behind it encourages people to solve a problem if they find it and share the improved product with the rest. Most of the stuff out there is pretty much cutting edge. Some are even bleeding edge! If you want a specific example, go here. And here. They solve real world problems and I dont think there are any proprietary equivalents.

This has had a domino effect on innovation itself. To create a product or service which solves a pain point has become relatively easy these days. Its basically a combination of lots of LGPL'ed libraries with your application on top. The barrier to entry is considerably lower. I bet all the startups these days are using open source software in one form or the other. If they are not, then they are missing out. We at Sedna Wireless are in fact leveraging a lot of them. And if we succeed, we will be the first one's to contribute back to the community. I hope we live to see that day.

So if you have a startup idea, I would recommend doing some research in the open source software world first. Its likely that someone has done it already.

Links: Slashdot's disucssion thread. BBC's coverage.

Tags: Open Source, FOSS, FLOSS, Innovation, Startups, Entrepreneurship.
posted by Rajiv, 1:12 AM

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