I conducted a short interview with Andrew Aitken at Open Source Meets Business. Andrew is the Founder and Managing Partner of the Olliance Group, which is advising large companies like IBM, Microsoft, Motorola, major banks and even the US Navy on their Open Source strategy. At the conference he gave a keynote about The state of commercial open source.
Camera: Stefan Koehler
Speaking about Open Source Aitken states that „there are a lot of business opportunities. There are not so many viable business models. It is a big difference.“. According to Aitken there are still opportunities in selling software and subscriptions for Open Source companies: „The successful companies today are selling subscription services, such as RedHat, such as MySQL, SugarCRM, Alfresco and others.“ He continues, „...Adaption (of Open Source) is so widespread. Virtually all major corporations in the world are using Open Source. ... And that is what driving the commerce behind it.“
Andrew gives an interesting example how the US Navy set up little supercomputers based on open source technology on their ships in order to process a whole range of sea data, such as water levels, temperatures and so on. Open Source solutions like that could also be used “for tsunami relief and the [control and observation of the] spread of infectious diseases around the world”, Aitken adds.
At end of the interview Aitken offers an insight of what is going in the Asian market in regards to Open Source Software: “The markets are a bit separate. For instance Japan is a very tough market to break into. And in order to do so you really have to have the support of one of the large companies there. And those large companies are just beginning to understand the opportunity that Open Source presents. I would say Asia is probably three years behind North America, and which is behind five years behind Europe. ... Europe is the leader in the adoption of Open Source, not necessarily commercial Open Source, but Europe is clearly the leader in the adoption of Open Source in general.”