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As the economy has gone into freefall, we are all striving to get maximum value for every dollar spent in both our private and professional lives.

Since a large proportion of our budgets are pre-allocated for paying the bills, we are postponing new purchases and cutting out luxury items. Grocery stores are noticing a significant increase in purchases of their store-branded items, as shoppers make substitutions for the typically more expensive brand name items.

In business, IT departments are looking to make similar savings by finding alternatives to the high-ticket items on their shopping lists and postponing non-critical projects. Open source software is one way for IT departments to achieve significant savings.

Learn the secrets of using Enterprise 2.0 to improve productivity and increase sales right here.

What is open source software?

Open source software is software for which there is typically no up-front cost and which is supported by a community of software developers who have access to the source code so that they can fix bugs and add new features. Many open source projects like MySQL, Red Hat, and Ingres are supported by commercial organizations which provide the standard assurances, such as 24/7 technical support, needed before software can be put into mission critical deployments. Organizations such as Google, eBay and Amazon have achieved significant savings by making use of open source.

The pervasiveness of open source

A recent survey by Gartner Research found that 85 percent of organizations they surveyed are making use of open source software today, and the remaining 15 percent have plans to do so in the coming 12 to 18 months.

From its humble beginnings as a low cost alternative to Windows in the datacenter, open source is now pervasive in the enterprise. It is incumbent upon us to ensure that students leaving our universities and colleges are prepared for the next great technology wave. From understanding how open source software is licensed, to becoming involved in open source development while still at college, there is a lot to learn, and an abundance of resources available to assist, encourage, and guide.


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