The Village View

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Open source: the path to development savings

I've mentioned before that we've spent time thinking about the implications of open source software to SAP. One of the interesting points is that for all the talk about "community" many popular open source projects have core development done by "in-house" folks. I couldn't reconcile this well with the "lower cost" argument. I think Matt Asay does a great job explaining how the open source development model leads to lower development costs and what work the community does versus the in-house folks.

the vast majority of "developers" within a [proprietary software] company are not core developers at all. They're people writing drivers, doing QA, etc. [In an opens source company]...the vast amount of code production (83% in terms of Linux, Apache, etc.) is done by ~15 people. Very few.

One of the exciting things about an open source company is that you take advantage of highly leveraged development, where the drivers, localization, etc. is done by the community, not your core development team. This means open source companies can spend proportionately less on development while simultaneously investing a lot more in core development.

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