Over the past few years, the open source community has started to be noticed by the business press.
In the cyclicals, Christopher Koch's 2003 article in CIO about stumbling across Open Source POS solutions started to erode some of the mysticism for businesses to open up their options. Now CIO has a permanent section for Open Source news, covering issues like SOA and the Sun Java move as well as the impact that the Open Source movement is having on Back-Office apps.
More recently, the Ernie Ball case showed that companies could totally ditch Microsoft and survive. A proposal more than attractive to many other Small to Medium Enterprises.
Thomas Friedman's book The World is Flat used several Open Source examples and made business people aware of the basic principles of Open Source software. The Apache Web Server development and the impressive growth of the Linux operating system are exciting examples of what is possible outside the normal private sector development strategy.
Clay Shirky talks on TED.com about the impact these distributed structures are having on the world and discusses these in terms of the institution versus collaboration. This video is well worth 20 minutes of your time if you haven't seen it.
Finally (and importantly for me) many of the wiki solutions we see today are either open source, were started that way, or have open source components or plug-ins. Whether it is Media-wiki (the system Wikipedia uses), the venerable TWiki, Atlassian's enterprise focused Confluence or the sexy, standards-based Mindtouch Deki, the key here isn't the software, but the community that springs up around it's design and continued development & support.
If you have a few minutes, please take the time to vote for Mindtouch and some of your other favourites in the Open Source Community Choice Awards. Many of the people involved in these great projects do so for little or no money, only the recognition and a sense of a job well done. Click on the logo above and give them a little or your recognition.
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