Business starting to see value in open source, says analyst

By   |  March 28, 2003

The Open Source Software (OSS) movement is undoubtedly gaining momentum in South Africa with the local enterprise market and Government starting to gain a better understanding of the value proposition behind the adoption of OSS, Mark Rotter, senior analyst at BMI-TechKnowledge said yesterday. Speaking at a Sun Microsystems Open Source seminar held in Johannesburg , South Africa, Rotter said consistent growth of OSS in SA over the past three years indicates that the South African public and private sector is starting to become aware that OSS offers an affordable alternative for universal access without costly licensing implications.

He said that while not implying that OSS will replace commercial software, it is clear that organisations will start to adopt strategies which encompass both models. The South Africa government especially, with an IT spend estimated to be in the region of R10 billion in 2002, is earnestly exploring OSS solutions.

\”OSS offers the promise of monetary savings and companies are wanting to understand how to exploit this potential. The key challenge for large organisations is the issue of support and commercial vendors such as HP, IBM and Sun are highly regarded in this context. The fact that a large number of these vendors now endorse OSS is an important contributing factor to the level of comfort organizations will have in adopting OSS, but there are still issues in terms of support that need to be ironed out,\” he said.

OSS is also starting to become a business reality, he said, and key growth has come from specialist services companies who have built a solutions approach around OSS and growth will also come from major IT service companies offering services model with reduced costs and a higher return on investment for certain applications.

On the question of sustainability Rotter said OSS is sustainable \”in niche applications such as web servers; somewhat in backend applications and also in the desktop environment although Microsoft still owns that space.\”

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