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Open source looks to catch the falling knife

Some open source vendors, knowing their cost advantage, are using this as an opportunity to sell themselves. You have to admire their optimism.

Falling Knife
A sudden fall in prices, like the one markets face today, is often called a "falling knife."

Buyers don't step in, adding to the panic, because they are looking for the best price possible. The old saying is, "don't get in the way of the falling knife."

Some open source vendors, knowing their cost advantage, are using this as an opportunity to sell themselves. You have to admire their optimism.

Funambol has stepped up with a white paper touting 8 benefits to "mobile we push email and mobile sync." It emphasizes freedom, openness, broad reach and low risk.

It's an argument worth listening to, even though in a panic no one is listening to anything.

Funambol is also pushing a localization program dubbed Lion Sniper and bragging it has signed up 1,500 new developers.

Over in Europe, the Italian Linux Association  and local Open Office group are taking a more humorous approach, searching to "Microsoft Office dinosaurs."

Roberto Galoppini focused on this program in his latest blog post, then called in to say that, no matter what, the knife is going to fall.

"I disagree on the general happiness about the financial down-turn. I don't think it's going to help open source vendors," he said.

"VCs will be more cautious, second and third rounds will be delayed, if not canceled, More important, medium-to-large consumers, will play the open source game, on their own."

Their attitude? "I am a CIO, a good one, I will play my game, I will sort out by myself. I won't buy subscriptions, unless vendors will do my job, investing to prototype my solution."

Over the longer run, Galoppini expects the biggest players -- Microsoft, Google, Amazon, IBM -- to push SaaS solutions, saving money themselves by putting open source in their offerings.

"They're going to go for vendor lock-in" again, he concludes. Which is when opportunity will return.