Open Source Lures Business
LinuxWorld is drawing interest from corporations considering alternatives.
From cautious corporate onlookers trying to gauge how Linux and open-source software fit into enterprise IT systems to the companies now looking to expand their use of open-source applications, a broad swath of IT users are in San Francisco at the annual LinuxWorld Conference & Expo.
What they are looking for depends on where their companies are in the ongoing convergence of corporate IT and open-source software.
Stewart Savage, director of IT for the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District in Fairfield, Calif., said he’s looking for more nonproprietary software that he can add to the school district’s infrastructure. “We come here to see how Linux is maturing over time,” Savage said. “I first came here five years ago, and I was very confused. But a critical mass was achieved where the complexity of learning it was greatly reduced. It’s no longer just for Linux gurus.”
The school district still uses Microsoft Corp.’s Windows on the desktop for its 24,000 students and 1,500 staff members, he said. But all students use the free OpenOffice productivity suite. Teachers get Microsoft Office, but they have the option of using OpenOffice. “A lot of curriculum [applications are only] available for Microsoft Windows, so it’s hard to make that translate to the open-source world,” Savage said.
When the school district first brought Linux and open-source applications into its data center in 2002, it was to primarily to cut costs. “We like to get as much money as possible into the classroom, so if we can save money in the data center with a high level of reliability, we will definitely go with Linux.” For the school system, the focus isn’t on what is cool in IT but on what is good for the students, teachers and supporting staff, he said.
Read more: PCWorld