Is Cloud Computing Killing Open Source Software
The best thing about open source software systems has always been the fact that it is freely available and any programmer or company can use it to develop its own version of that software. For the longest time they have been the best solution for people willing to go outside the box in order to get the best results in their respective IT departments. Of course these systems have never been without profit and it came from two sources that are now getting to be absolute because of the emergence of cloud computing and the level of affordability most of its components come from.
The way open source software systems have worked so far has been through selling license agreements. Any company could take a software system like MySQL incorporate it in their own product and then they would either have the choice of getting an open source license or buy a commercial license from MySQL, in this case.
However because of the cloud is not actually selling software systems but only time on those systems companies like Amazon, who has developed their Amazon RDS based on MySQL do not have to pay them any licensee fee. The end users get exactly what they needed and are willing to pay for it and cloud service providers like Amazon do not need to pay any fee in licensing.
There is also a second stream of income for big open source companies because it is their software that is modified and sold further on. The process creates a need for specialists and those specialists are delivered by the initial company like MySQL or Red Hat. But if the company that has used the software generates enough revenue from it, they can afford to hire their own specialists. And since their products are not sold further as such but are only accessed by third parties on their own server there is nobody else left who would need those services.
However the world of open source software does not end with MySQL and even they have alternative sources of funding. For one, even the specialists hired by Amazon need to be trained, tested and licensed by a valid authority which will always need to route back to Oracle who currently owns MySQL. And the same is true for any open source software.
Also the entire Linux platform is what currently supports and Android software and as long as that exists there will be little chance for the actual concept of the open source software to go out of date. Even the Android system itself is an open source software system that many companies like CyanogenMod have taken to using and further developing.
So ultimately the cloud cannot take out the open source concept because it is built itself on open source platforms. The game has gotten tougher for many open source companies but they are already fighting back by putting in place new licensing systems like the Affero GPL license.
By Luchi Gabriel Manescu
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