Who uses Linux and Open Source in Business?

Who uses Linux and Open Source in Business?

Summary: Almost everyone. Linux and open-source software has become totally mainstream in big business.

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Thanks to Glyn Moody, a UK-based technology journalist, I've just learned that Netflix is not only using, but also contributing, to numerous open-source projects. They're in good company.

As Kevin McEntee, Netflix's VP of Systems & ECommerce Engineering explained on a recent blog posting, Why we use and contribute to open source software, "Our budget, measured in dollars, time, people, and energy, is limited and we must therefore focus our technology development efforts on that streaming video software that clearly differentiates Netflix and creates delight for our customers. These limits require that we stand on the shoulders of giants who have solved technology challenges shared in common by all companies that operate at Internet scale. I'm really just articulating the classical build vs. buy trade off that everyone deals with when developing software.

McEntree continued, "We do utilize some commercial software but there is often the alternative choice of utilizing open source software, preferably open source software that implements an open standard. Open source software projects often originate as a labor of love by software developers who are tired of seeing a shared problem solved over and over again in one off solutions, or perhaps they realize that they can offer a more simple and elegant alternative to a commercial product. The great thing about a good open source project that solves a shared challenge is that it develops its own momentum and it is sustained for a long time by a virtuous cycle of continuous improvement. At Netflix we jumped on for the ride a long time ago and we have benefited enormously from the virtuous cycles of actively evolving open source projects. We benefit from the continuous improvements provided by the community of contributors outside of Netflix. We also benefit by contributing back the changes we make to the projects. By sharing our bug fixes and new features back out into the community, the community then in turn continues to improve upon bug fixes and new features that originated at Netflix and then we complete the cycle by bring those improvements back into Netflix."

That's about a good summing up as I've ever read about why open-source software and development is good for business.

Netflix is far from the only business that benefits from open source though. People tend to think of Linux and open-source software as benefiting only technology businesses such as IBM, Oracle, and Red Hat. That's not at all the case.

Google, Facebook, and Twitter, all best known as Web companies, depend on Linux and open-source software to handle their hundreds of millions to billions of daily users. Indeed, without open-source software I doubt very much that any of that trio would be as big as they are today.

It's not just businesses that center on technology that have found Linux and open source help their bottom line. The London Stock Exchange, for example, just switched to Millennium Exchange, which is based around Linux. Other stock exchanges such as Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), the Tokyo Stock Exchange. etc., etc.

Why have all these businesses done this? It's not because any of these businesses love Linux or open-source for their own sake or to stick it to Microsoft or other proprietary software companies. They do it because Linux and open-source software tends to be cheaper, faster, more stable, and gives them more control over the software. In short, open-source and Linux works well for business.

Topics: Software, CXO, Linux, Open Source, Operating Systems, IT Employment

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  • RE: Who uses Linux and Open Source in Business?

    Your problem is that you are associating open source and linux to be synonymous with each other and that is far from the truth. Yes linux is open source, but open source is not linux. A lot of companies use open source but very few are using linux. A lot of the companies you listed could do just as well without linux but instead use an alternative that has been proven to be a lot more reliable, scalable, stable, and secure. I see in no way that linux contributed to the success of any of the companies you listed, and some aren't a success such as Red Hat and twitter. Open source works, linux doesn't. That's why its dropping faster than the temperature.
    Loverock Davidson
    • Maybe

      @Loverock Davidson

      Maybe you should make an appointment to have your eyes checked or just maybe you have your eyes closed.

      Maybe your analysis is unsubstantiated.

      Maybe you have a special agenda which is bought and paid for by an undisclosed source.

      Maybe also you have been nipping at the DayQuil again.
      Dietrich T. Schmitz, ~ Your Linux Advocate
      • RE: Who uses Linux and Open Source in Business?

        @Dietrich T. Schmitz, Your Linux Advocate
        Oh you have given up calling me by that other name already? I thought I was going to have to wait at least 6 months for you to do that. I just want to point out what a failure, and a disaster for that other guy, it was. You have brought shame upon yourself.
        Loverock Davidson
        • Looks like he is taking things in stride. Good for him.

          @Loverock Davidson

          http://www.gearsandwidgets.com/2010/12/09/spinning-gears-a-curious-case-of-mistaken-identity/

          Whoever replied on his site isn't me. But he shows character.
          Dietrich T. Schmitz, ~ Your Linux Advocate
      • RE: Who uses Linux and Open Source in Business?

        @Dietrich T. Schmitz, Your Linux Advocate
        He sounds like a good guy, its just a shame you did that to him.
        Loverock Davidson
      • Did you ever notice Loverock Davidson only shows his face

        when zdnet posts a Linux related article. Than all Loverock does is put forth his usual FUD and than runs away and hides. He obviously has a vendetta against anything Linux or as many have said before he is a paid shill by you know who. His rambling are always out of context so as to create a disturbance in readers train of thoughts regarding the article informational substance.

        The shear fact he always seems to find a way to be the first one to post his negative dribble has to make anyone wonder how he does this, is it inside information from someone inside zdnet? Its just to much of a coincidence that he's always the first one to post something negative about anything Linux.

        If you remember Mike Cox's st-hick about him and his Microsoft reps lunching dates, that was at least funny and would give you a chuckle. People came to zdnet because Mike was funny, but you have to wonder what people really thing of Loverock Davidon constant belittling of anything Linux. I'll bet in the long run it costs zdnet readership.
        Over and Out
    • It seems like the earth is still flat

      @Loverock Davidson

      Nice going
      Economister
    • RE: Who uses Linux and Open Source in Business?

      @Loverock Davidson
      What alternative are you talking about?
      daikon
      • RE: Who uses Linux and Open Source in Business?

        @daikon
        Anything that is not linux.
        Loverock Davidson
    • Don't know what planet you live on, but

      @Loverock Davidson

      95 percent of our backoffice runs on RHEL, over 1000 servers total. That includes all of SAP instances, our PLM system, 60 or so LAMP-based web applications, and our customer-facing portals. For Windows we have Exchange and Active Directory, and that's it. Except for a couple of W2K systems running an engineering app that nobody can find the source code for ...

      We are not alone by any means. When we go to industry conferences in our own and related industries (oil & gas) all of the big names have major Linux contingents, doing everything from business systems to supercomputing to gas station retail apps.

      Are there companies making a killing (like MS) selling Linux? No, and that's the general idea :)
      terry flores
      • RE: Who uses Linux and Open Source in Business?

        @terry flores
        Planet Earth. So you guys run a back end on linux, sorry to hear that. I'm sure it requires a lot of your time maintaining it. Although I don't quite get that last statement, any company wants to make a killing selling their software. Its just that with linux you can't.
        Loverock Davidson
        • MS=Exploitation

          @Loverock Davidson

          By and large, no one is making a killing on selling Linux. However many concerns *do* make money selling services that run on top of it.

          Care for some DayQuil? Drink Up!
          Dietrich T. Schmitz, ~ Your Linux Advocate
      • RE: Who uses Linux and Open Source in Business?

        @terry flores
        I'm at a large, well known transportation company. We have over 1500+ Linux servers (and hundreds of thousands embedded Linux systems in the next few years) that run a mix of different software and internally written applications. Linux is also heavily used in banks, DOD, networking companies, ...etc. The marketshare is growing rapidly.

        "Loverock Davidson" has to be doing a parody of sorts, if not he is seriously out of touch. :)
        sys_engineer
      • Are there companies making a killing (like MS) selling Linux? No, and that'

        @terry flores

        Great,, lets all celebrate the fact that you cannot make money selling linux LOL..

        Thanks for that... what a classic..

        I have to admit, you are 100% right, if you want to succeed in business, forget linux..

        Damn that is funny...
        Aussie_Troll
      • RE: Who uses Linux and Open Source in Business?

        @terry flores

        What is also really funny, is this..

        I would not at all be surprised, if it was not the case that over the years, Microsoft has made more money from Linux and open source than RED HAT or coniacle has done since they were created..

        You dont think MS has not allready made Millions if not billions from UNIX, Linux and open source..

        Do you not remember the time when Microsoft has its own UNIX ? what about the money exchange between Novell and MS ?

        So if you think MS has not make ALOT of money from Linux, and open source.. you do not really have a clue..

        The only people not making any money out of linux and open source, and those dedicated to it.. everyone else does very well, thankyou..

        Unless you are hard line, then you get NOTHING,,, !!!
        Aussie_Troll
    • RE: Who uses Linux and Open Source in Business?

      @Loverock Davidson

      My goodness you are clueless. Please refrain from making statements about things you have no idea about. That will most likely mean we will no longer hear from you. Shame.
      rossdav
      • I am afraid your complaint won't keep him away

        @rossdav@...
        He has been at this *game* of his since about circa 2005.
        Dietrich T. Schmitz, ~ Your Linux Advocate
      • RE: Who uses Linux and Open Source in Business?

        @rossdav@...
        Then I guess I keep on posting :)
        Loverock Davidson
      • RE: Who uses Linux and Open Source in Business?

        @rossdav@... I hadn't seen anything posted by him in awhile. Can be entertaining but a warning to all - don't feed the troll. If you think you'll get him/her/it into a debate involving logic you will be sorely disappointed.
        piperdown
    • RE: Who uses Linux and Open Source in Business?

      @Loverock Davidson
      Another good one. "...but very few are using linux...". Hilarious! Keep up the good work dude.
      kirovs@...