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OpenSource Software and Business in Jersey?

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Updated: 10 Mar 16


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This page contains controversial statements and it also has speculations about the future which we do not have any true knowledge about.
It is neither unique statements for Jersey but could be valid for other places as well. Timing makes the difference.
If this page is shortened, See the full version / Jerry Mattsson, MD TimeHole Consultancy & Software Ltd, Jersey. Links checked jun-2013

A general and genuine turn toward the use of Open Source(*1) software in Jersey could:

  • Create and develop new business areas and company's in Jersey.
  • Bring new business into Jersey and give us new business opportunities.
  • Increase the business activities and the general technological interest in Jersey.
  • Inject a new spirit in, and vitalize existing business and place us in focus of software and modern It development.
  • Get attention from, and focus the computer industry on Jersey as an interesting technological area.
  • It would increase and develop the computer and technology maturity in the Island.
  • Jersey could be a model for other communities and become a place to arrange seminars, activities and education around the use and implementation of Open Source software. It could give us the possibilities to export knowledge and know-how to others.
  • Lower the cost of Computers and Software.

What could OpenSource Software do for Business in Jersey?

Rejected "Letters to the editor" to JEP/Jersey evening post November 2003

The Tech Business

The economical recession affects us all. Causes and effects can be debated, but the Tech business has been in the center of this and has been hit hard. But the technological development and the continued advances in the computer, telecoms and information industry is not at a standstill.

The development is still going on, even if the wheels do not turn at the same speed as they did a couple of years ago. Computers, mobiles, DVD's and things like the Internet, file sharing and sms won't go away.

On the contrary, new services and possibilities is available every day, and computer and IT will stay as important as ever.

The activities around Open Source software is a part of this, and has gained a lot of interest the last couple of years and is increasing continuously. Large companies like IBM, Hp, Novell, Oracle and Sun is developing and promoting OpenSource software and especially Linux(*2).

Why should we do anything about this now?

There are several examples of institutions and companies that have changed their strategies to focus on OpenSource software and replacing proprietary systems where there are OpenSource alternatives.

This is happening within the EU (*3), UN, in China, South America etc. It is happening in countries where the cost aware IT-management is looking for alternatives to the MS (used hereafter for Microsoft) environment.

We could do what Munich has done (*4), only quicker because we are a smaller community. Or we can stand passive and look for the outcome of the Munich development. And when we see the result, then the opportunity has passed.

Many large and well known companies have announced that they are going to use Linux based software (like Ford and Nasdaq). And they are doing this because they believe that it will make them more competitive and and that this will make them more profitable.

With this trend, the need for knowledge and experience, based on the use and implementation of this type of system set up and usage is increasing.

The companies and communities that early gain experience and knowledge about how to use and work in this "new" way, will have an advantage in the future technological development and could export knowledge and be raw models for others.

The "new" spirit that this type of software is developed in, requires the knowledge and support to be available locally. You have to take responsibility for and take over the control of your systems, or have a company that you trust to do that for you.

This is because this type of system is not dictated by someone or somebody that decides what you should use and or when you should upgrade or change it. You have to decide that for yourself. This means that the work that has to be done, is moved from the company that delivered your system to a) the development community and b) to yourself.

Why should we care about this at all?

Computerized systems has to be maintained and updated and cared for in general at regular intervals. This has to be done both with commercial or OpenSource software based systems.

The cost of this is probably the same, maybe more, maybe less, depending on how things are done and in what time frame we calculate it. But if OpenSource software is used, most of the money spent would go into local companies, services and work done locally, instead of being payed for in license fees to software companies elsewhere.

Other effects of using OpenSource code software might be as important, eg. the security is higher and the vulnerability of viruses is lower, this and some other advantages might be very cost saving in the long run.

Jersey is in general less developed in the IT-area than many of our business neighbors. Companies, institutions and the state administration are not automatized and using well integrated systems to benefit the most from the use of IT-systems.

This means that we are not as efficient as we could be and therefore our administration and businesses are more expensive than others around us. This makes us less competitive. In the near future Jersey has to be more efficient and modernized in many areas to survive and keep the high level of living standard that we have.

We need to improve and continue to build a modern and efficient infrastructure that use and support computerized system and information technology efficiently and cheaply. We need to increase the IT- knowledge and education.

I am not saying that it does not exist, just that if we want to be able to competitive in "new" and different business areas, we need to be at least as efficient and cost effective as other companies, communities and countries around us.

1) What is OpenSource ("Short version") ?

OpenSource software is a movement that has evolved during the past ten years and much so with the possibilities of Internet communication.

It is a distributed way of sharing and developing software and applications with and via the use of the Internet. Thousands of companies and people are contributing time, code, documentation and testing to several thousands of software "products" that are more or less free to use. This type of development and knowledge sharing would fit a Community area like Jersey very well.

To some companies like Microsoft that are packaging standard functions this is a threat, and to companies like Ximian (now owned by Novell), Mandrake, SUSE and Oracle this is a business opportunity.

Whatever programs you are using on your computer, there are probably a pretty good replacement program that are created as Open source software and probably free to use and install and do not require a software license.

Well known OpenSource and Free software examples is: Linux - Operating System, Microsoft treat and alternative. Apache - the most used web server on the Internet and it has been around since April of 1996. OpenOffice - Free and very competent office software package, have been developed for 3-4 years now, donated to the Open Source community by Sun, (offspring of the German StarOffice system).

2) What has all the fuzz about Linux to do with this ?

What is it ? It is a free Unix-like computer Operating System, a Microsoft treat maybe, and with a lot of available ad-on software. It has been developed for about 10 years now. It started of as a hobby project by Linus Thorvald in Finland, but has grown to a world-wide project involving thousands of people. And everybody can contribute in one way or the other. By reporting problems, writing documentation or by helping others.

Linux has become the acronym for OpenSource software. Linux itself is not a complete system more like a old fashion dos system if I should try to explain this simply. But there are thousands of applications and additional software that are developed according to the same principle and that are created for the Linux base.

3) Related articles

< class='a'>The Center of Open Source & Government ( dead link )
EU institutions test alternative to Microsoft
< class='a'>EU Center of Open Source & Government unveils programme for transition to Open Source software ( dead link )
< class='a'>EU / Mes call for adoption of open source software by European Institutions ( dead link )
< class='a'>EU Study of use of Open Source Software in the Public Sector Part 2 (pdf) ( dead link )
< class='a'>EU Study of use of Open Source Software in the Public Sector Part 3 (pdf) ( dead link )
< class='a'>Center of Open Source & Government unveils programme for transition to Open Source software ( dead link )
< class='a'>Governments of Japan, China and South Korea to jointly develop Open Source operating system ( dead link )
< class='a'>French government deploys an open source content management system ( dead link )
Dutch Government opens a platform for sharing and exchanging open source software
< class='a'>Italian Government opens the door to Open Source ( dead link )
< class='a'>Legal threats over Linux found to have little impact ( dead link )
< class='a'>City of Vienna considers Linux move ( dead link )

4) Munich

Munich is the latest example of a larger community that have decided to use OpenSource software.

They have a mix of computer with different MS software versions and had to upgrade this and asked Microsoft for an offer. Te where offered to upgrade their 14000 PC's for a $36 000 000 deal ( that is approximately $2500/pc in upgrade cost ) and as an alternative they got an offer from IBM and SUSE for an upgrade to a Linux based environment and got an offer for a little less.

Microsoft cut their price by more than 30% and had a visit by Mr Ballmore ? My interpretation of the offer is that MS offered a 14 000 boxes of MS-software where IBM/SUSE offered services and help for the same amount but the software supplied would be almost all Open Source software with a minimal cost and no Maintenance or licenses cost. Munich decided to go for IBM/SUSE.

Web Links About The Munich IT-strategy

< class='a'>Munchen setzt auf Open-Source-Software (in German) ( dead link )
The Observer: Germany 1 Microsoft 0
Linux Took on Microsoft, and Won Big in Munich
Governments like open-source software, but Microsoft does not
Why Munich Dumped Microsoft for Linux
Linux took on Microsoft, and won big in Munich
Munich Goes with Open Source Software

< class='a'>Munich chooses Linux over Windows ( dead link )
Munich poised to select IBM, SuSE over Microsoft
< class='a'>Microsoft loses city of Munich deal to Linux ( dead link )
< class='a'>Munich's Choice Doesn't Prove Linux OK for General Desktop Use ( dead link )
German City Favors Linux Over Microsoft

5) Other Web references:

A Linux Starter story

< class='a'>A Microsoft guy tackles Linux ( dead link )

Bill Gates on Linux

BIll Gates on Linux

The Cost of Linux

Linux TCO: Less Than Half The Cost of Windows

Companies that goes Linux

Largo Loves Linux More Than Ever
< class='a'>Red Hat Success stories ( dead link )
VeriSign Goes to Linux-Based Servers
Ford Explores Switch to Linux-based Servers
Massive CSFB Trading Architecture Now Powered by Red Hat
Wall Street Embraces Linux

Jerry Mattsson, TimeHole Consultancy & Software Ltd, Jersey.