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The Business and Economics of Linux and Open Source

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Spotlight Customer Reviews

Average Customer Rating: 5

Customer Rating: 5
Summary: Serious Business of Linux and Open Source
Comment: Users love software that they don't have to pay for. But, some software professionals have to make a living creating and maintaining that software. Many companies today grapple with the question, "how to make money with Linux and Open Source?" Some software business leaders are worried about whether Linux and Open Source are impacting business viability of operating systems/environment business. Enterprise business and IT managers are quite happy to see the trend towards software they don't have to pay for. But, most often they do not understand what the implications are and what the fine prints way. Martin Fink has done an excellent job of compiling all the fundamental and essential information on the business aspects of Linux and Open Source software. He clarifies and removes many myths people carry in their minds. Probably this is a "one of its kind" book that brings together the various angles such as the overview of terms, understanding legal lingo, business model aspects, talent management aspects and so on. The book covers the essential technical aspects lucidly and adequately. If you are looking for a deep technical source for Linux and Open Source architectures, there are enough pointers in the book; but, this book is not meant for that purpose. I recommend this book for software engineers who have to understand the business aspects and Enterprise IT/Business Managers who are deploying/planning Linux and Open Source components in their business. The timing of the book is perfect. This book is a good candidate for bringing out update versions as the domain expands and matures. I don't know whether Martin Fink plans to upgrade the book year after year.

Customer Rating: 5
Summary: A book for Enterprise customers looking at Linux/Open source
Comment: I have just finished reading the book "The Business and Economics of Linux and Open Source" and wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed it. I am currently passing the book up my chain of command at work...

Linux and Open source is not "just" for geeks anymore. Business is embracing it and needs the guidance this book has to offer. It is the first book I have seen which addresses Linux and open source from a business perspective.

The background on Linux and Open source brings the reader up-to-speed on the key players and culture of the open source community and why it would be considered - staying focussed on facts and data. From this, Martin goes on to discuss the different issues one must address in considering the implementation of this technology in the Enterprise including the real costs and benefits.

Martin lends credibility to this topic as he is currently the VP & CTO at Hewlett-Packard heading its Linux Systems Division. He has to grapple with these issues everyday...

At a conference where Martin was speaking at recently, a senior executive at IBM mentioned that he was giving this book (an HP executive's book) to IBM's customers. Having read the book, I now understand why.

Customer Rating: 5
Summary: A must read if you consider open source in your business
Comment: The author is definitely speaking from experience, providing valuable insights and recommmendations. Coming from a person who's been heading the Linux Systems Division of HP for over three years, it's not surprising.

Part I brings the reader to a sufficient level of familiarity with Linux, open source, licensing, communities and celebrities. Unless you are fully in touch with the open source world, you will certainly learn useful information in this part.

Part II explains what it means to implement Linux in your operations. No attempt is made to review or benchmark available distributions, and no selection process is presented, only some guidance is provided. This is understandable: Linux can take many shapes and forms and you can even create your own distribution. Because of this diversity, a whole chapter is devoted to standards that make it possible to use multiple distributions. The subject of Total Cost of Ownership is also covered, not in terms of numbers, but in terms of items to consider for calculating a total cost. There is no magic formula here, only an indication of what you should consider and how open source can affect the bottom line. The author then discusses the activity of deploying Linux, considering the issues of migration, coexistence, hardware, support, and training. Here again the author provides essential guidance without covering all the details of such undertaking.

Part III is about how to integrate open source into your organization. This is probably where most of the added value of this book lies. It is really in this part that the author draws from his experience in managing open source in a large organization. He first attempts to provide a functional model for an organization developing software, focusing on enabling an open source process as opposed to a conventional development model. This model may assume a large set of developers and may come out of the blue (it is presented then discussed), but it clearly demonstrates how much of a cultural change it requires to fully reap the benefits from an open source process, and how much other corporate functions such as marketing and HR have to adapt accordingly. Most importantly, this model can boldly be used as a replacement for conventional closed-source development. The author then covers other valuable topics: gated communities, the time value of software and how open source changes the equation and can be used to your advantage, the business models around open source, when to participate or create open source software, and what should be considered when deciding to use open source.

A highly recommended reading for anybody who is considering leveraging the benefits of open source within their organization.