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“Open Source Technology Will Bring In A Services-Based Model With A Reasonable Opex, Zero Capex”
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“Open Source Technology Will Bring In A Services-Based Model With A Reasonable Opex, Zero Capex”  
myOpenSourceStore.com is an open source solutions provider catering to businesses worldwide.    
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Friday, May 03, 2013 Devasia Kurian, managing director, myOpenSourceStore.com interacted with Ashwin Gopinath of OSFY about the reason behind starting the online open source portal and what it means for the future of open source in India.

OSFY, open source, myOpenSourceStore.com, interview

Q: What is happening with open source technology w.r.t. businesses and organisations?

The adoption rate is low in comparison with proprietary alternatives; but there is pressure on enterprises to meet customer requirements with fewer resources and to find cost-effective solutions with a quick ROI. So the use of open source technology is increasing.

OSS facilitates the preservation of a wide range of information for future developments and it comes with considerable financial savings. Government institutes and PSUs are looking forward to more adoption and implementation of OSS in their IT infrastructure. The increasing awareness of open source in the public and government sector has been one of the significant developments in IT technology.

Q: How is open source affecting the commercial software business model?

As we know, a liberal licensing policy makes open source software accessible free of charge, along with the source code, which can then be customised by the user as per requirements. This drastically reduces costs, ensures less vendor dependence, reduces piracy/copyright infringements and increases the growth of a knowledge-based society.

The key advantages open source offers are: no vendor lock-in, abundant support, simple licence management, cost effectiveness and easy customisation.

Open source technology will revolutionise the current software business model by replacing the existing software vendors who deploy a large capex-based model. Open source technology will bring in a services-based model with a reasonable opex and zero capex. The industry will welcome this movement whole-heartedly.

Q: What are some of the considerations for a company deciding to move over to the open source side?

Before a company decides to adopt and implement open source technology in a system, it needs to understand the long-term implication on the business. Since the decision to shift to open source is a long-term objective and incurs costs, the company needs to evaluate multiple factors.

Some of them are:

Does the software offer sufficient features for the near future?

Will it scale up based on the organisation’s requirements?

Is there adequate documentation on installation, configuration and trouble shooting?

Will the service provider offer support on installation, configuration and maintenance, and…

Is there a large online community supporting the software?

Q: Does the open source approach have any drawbacks for organisations?

Though open source software is free software, which can be modified, customised and is cost effective, there are certain limitations.

Many developments in the OSS world occur very fast, almost at the same time. It is hard to keep track of which one is the latest version of a particular software.

In most cases, there is no proper support service for installation, configuration or troubleshooting.

There is also the risk of open source software stagnating, due to developer distraction or the loss of motivation and resources.

Q: What are the problems impeding the widespread adoption of open source technologies?

As we see it, even though open source comes with cost and scalability advantages, the adoption level is low. Awareness and support are two key issues which have to be tackled. It is easy to download software for free, but that requires support in terms of seamless installation and implementation. We should, therefore, provide support to enterprises, right from product selection and installation configuration to maintenance (all on one platform), thereby accelerating the adoption of open source technology.

Q: What measures do you think should be taken to drive up the adoption rate of open source?

First, open source adoption has to be a part of an organisation’s and CIO’s IT strategy. Second, one has to select the right set of resources. The companies have to work towards creating an end-to-end solution comprising product selection, and support for installation and maintenance. It is important to know how open source software will be used within the business environment in terms of professional implementation and has to be viewed with a clear focus.

Q: What has the Indian community’s response been to accepting open source technologies and software?

The open source community in India is one of the largest in the world. As the market is maturing, organisations in India have slowly started accepting the advantages of open source platforms and encouraging collaboration. Open standards is a key facilitator for customisation and innovation, and the Indian developer community is creating OSS for a wide range of applications. With the increasing adoption of business applications by the Indian small and medium businesses, and cost being a key constraint in the adoption of applications development tools, open source solutions offer an interesting alternative. Government institutions and PSUs are in discussions regarding the adoption of open source software, e.g., the Indian Railways is supporting the deployment of Asterisk, an open source telephony platform, for all new developments in internal telephone services.

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