The Business and Economics of Linux and Open Source / Edition 1

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Overview

The manager's guide to using Linux and open source for competitive advantage.

Using Linux and open source technologies, thousands of enterprises are cutting costs, gaining flexibility, and discovering powerful new sources of business value. Now, there's an objective, realistic manager's guide to using Linux and open source technology for competitive advantage. Martin Fink helps you get past both the hypesters and the naysayers, so you can accurately assess the benefits, costs, and risks of open source in your organization. Writing strictly from the manager's viewpoint, Fink covers every step of the Linux and open source project lifecycle, and every crucial issue, from licensing to collaborating with the open source community of developers. Coverage includes:

  • Assessing the costs, benefits, and risks of pursuing Linux and open source initiatives
  • Open source licensing: avoiding the minefields
  • Managing Linux and open source projects within your company
  • Assessing the size, breadth, and capabilities of the open source community
  • Building strong, positive, synergistic relationships with external open source communities
  • The crucial role of Linux standards
  • Integration, development, deployment, migration, coexistence, support, and training
  • Understanding the difference between the Linux kernel and the Linux operating system
  • Understanding and choosing Linux distributions
  • How the open source paradigm impacts commercial software developers
  • Open source business models: what it takes to make a profit from open source technology
  • Applying the open source development methodology in a corporate setting
"A thought-provoking analysis of the role of open source software in the corporate environment. A must-read guide for managers considering how open source can help their organization."

—Tim O'Reilly, O'Reilly and Associates, Inc.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780130476777
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall
  • Publication date: 9/28/2002
  • Series: HP Professional Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.97 (h) x 0.55 (d)

Meet the Author

MARTIN FINK is General Manager for Hewlett-Packard's Linux Systems Division, where he has been leading Linux development activities for more than three years. He is responsible for driving HP's overall Linux and open source strategy and managing the firm's open source business processes. He is also Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Open Source Development Lab, a global consortium of industry leaders dedicated to promoting Linux and Linux-based programming for enterprise and carrier-class environments.

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Read an Excerpt

Preface

The expression "necessity is the mother of all invention" is so true. I would not have taken on this project if there was another text out there that I could have referenced. Just like every other topic these days, there is an abundance of information on the Internet if you want to do some research. I found no manuscript that consolidates, for a business audience, topics related to Linux and open source in one place. I also believe that some of the paradigm shifts initiated by the open source movement have not been documented for corporate managers, until now.

The Linux and open source movement has instigated "religious wars" between different camps, each presenting extreme but often unrealistic positions. This book is not about any war and does not take on a cause; it is about simple business. This text acknowledges that the Linux and open source phenomenon is real and is rapidly becoming omnipresent within the high-technology industry. However, simple acknowledgment is not enough to deal with the fundamental new business issues created by Linux and open source.

Who This Book Is For

This book is directed primarily at business managers. Some of you will be information technology (IT) managers in any given industry and may be trying to understand what value Linux and open source can deliver to your business. In other words, what is different that would cause you to want to change? Others will be managers developing software for internal use, or for commercial resale. In these cases, you will likely be looking at the open source movement as a way to leverage a huge population of developers, but may struggle to understand the best way to integrate with this community and still return a profit for your investors. This book is from one manager to another and there are two levels of management that can benefit. If you are part of executive management, then this book will give you a guide to help drive your teams to find the right answers and help you ask the right questions when your teams make new proposals related to Linux and open source. If you are in the middle management ranks, this book should help you make sure that your plans and proposals to senior management are complete and address the new business paradigms of Linux and open source.

This book is not for developers. It does not navigate through any code modules for any software in Linux or any other open source project. There may be cases where uninitiated developers may be looking for a big-picture view of the Linux and open source communities. In these cases, this book will add value, at least in parts.

For the past few years, I have been working every day in this wonderful new way of doing business. It is always a challenge to take on a job where concepts are different and some of the fundamental rules change. It is natural for most people to reject these changes and do everything possible to maintain the status quo. I continue to deal with this resistance every day. While the business concepts associated with Linux and open source are still very new, corporate managers are rapidly discovering that they can no longer ignore what is happening. The wonderful thing about a market economy is that it requires new business concepts such as Linux and open source to prove themselves, and once proven, those who ignore them, invariably lose. Competitors who take notice and aggressively take advantage of new opportunities begin to take business from those who reject change. However, those who move too quickly to every fad that comes around waste resources and eventually either disappear or realign to an accepted business reality. There are those who believe that Linux and open source are still a passing fad, and some who even hope it will go away soon. The Linux operating system is now more than 10 years old. The open source movement, which started with the free software movement, is approaching 20 years of existence. It should be apparent that it is not going away, and that your business needs to deal with new realities.

How This Book Is Organized

Part 1 of the book is an initiation into the world of Linux and open source. Chapter 1 starts by examining the fundamental business reasons why this new movement is good for business and how it delivers value. It also establishes a core understanding of terminology and significant players so that you can follow the rest of the book. Chapter 2 digs deep into the Linux kernel. While the kernel may seem a deeply technical topic for business, in this new world, it is a core requirement to understand how the components fit together. The next chapter outlines the Open Source Definition. Since open source is at the core of what makes Linux work, understanding open source licenses is also a required component of basic training. Part 1 ends with a broad look at a number of communities and organizations you will need to be familiar with as you integrate your company with this movement.

Part 2 looks at the operational side of Linux. It starts with a look at Linux distributions to help you internalize how the Linux kernel integrates with all the pieces that constitute an operating system. Next, you will be taken through a detailed analysis of measuring IT costs with an open source mindset. We will also look at how key standards affect the cost picture and which ones will be important to the future success of Linux. Finally, we will take a look at operations from deployment, migration, and coexistence, to support and training.

The last part of this book explores in great detail the open source effect on the corporations and businesses developing commercial software. This is where the fundamental new business paradigms are examined. We will start by looking at how the open source community is structured, some of its cultural elements, and how it compares to a corporate structure. We will also examine the open source effect on the value delivered over time. This will prepare you for the following discussion, which is a detailed examination of open source business models and how to make money. The last two chapters examine in great detail the process of integrating open source within your company and the people management effects of working with this new community of developers.

Many of the concepts presented, especially in Part 3, will be very new to a business audience. Hopefully the information will give you enough guidance to manage open source projects within your company and help you build synergistic relationships with the great communities of developers out there.

As you being to understand how open source works and what it really is, I encourage you to look at this book as an open source project. I am but the maintainer, and I hope that any of you will become contributors. I present to you an imperfect project and hope you will share your genius, much as those who contributed to the review process, to evolve it into a great one.

—Martin Fink Summer 2002

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Disclaimer and Notices xv
Acknowledgments xvii
Preface xix
Part I Groundwork 1
Chapter 1 The Business of Linux and Open Source 3
Linux Adoption 3
Crash Course in Linux and Open Source Lingo 5
Linux Workloads 6
Business Benefits 7
Cost 8
Availability of Trained Resources 8
Support 9
Control and Vendor Independence 10
Software Development 10
Upgrades 11
Inhibitors to Linux Growth 11
Application Availability 12
Maturity 13
Scalability 13
Business Risk 14
Who's Who in Open Source? 14
Summary 18
Chapter 2 Linux--Heart of the Operating System 19
The Operating System 20
The Linux Kernel 22
Kernel Design 22
Linux Kernel Modules 23
Linux Kernel Patches 25
Kernel Fragmentation (or Forking) 25
Linux Kernel Development and Version Control 26
Multi-Platform Support 29
Mass-Market vs. Non-Mainstream Processors 30
Linux on the Desktop 31
Vertical and Horizontal Scalability 32
Embedded Linux 33
Summary 34
Chapter 3 Open Source--Navigating the Legal Path to Freedom 35
The Freedom to Be Open Source 36
The Open Source Definition 37
Intellectual Property and Reciprocity 39
Dual-Licensing and Copyright Ownership 40
Licenses--Open Source and Non-Open Source 42
Open Source Licenses 42
The GPL and LGPL 46
Non-Open Source Licenses 50
Export and Cryptography 52
Open Source Development Methodology 52
License 53
Styles 53
Attributes 54
Summary 56
Chapter 4 Communities and Organizations 59
Linux 60
Kernel 60
Processors 60
File Systems 62
Device Support 63
Web Services and Application Servers 64
Apache 64
TUX 64
JBOSS 65
Languages 66
GCC 66
Perl 68
Python 68
Desktops and Office Productivity 69
XFree86 69
GNOME 70
KDE 70
Mozilla 72
OpenOffice 72
Databases 73
PostgreSQL 73
MySQL 73
Personal Digital Assistants 73
Handheld Linux 74
Clusters 74
Beowulf 74
Organizations 74
Linux International 75
Free Software Foundation 75
Open Source Initiative 75
Open Source Development Lab 75
Free Standards Group 76
Embedded Linux Consortium 76
Linux Documentation Project 76
Summary 77
Part II Operational Linux 79
Chapter 5 Distributions--Completing Linux 81
Linux Distribution 82
Packages 83
Package Formats 86
Distribution Vendors 87
Mainstream Distributions 87
Geographic Distributions 90
Specialty Distributions 90
Non-Linux Operating System Distributions 91
Creating Your Own Distribution 91
Supporting Multiple Distributions 92
Standards 94
Summary 94
Chapter 6 The Cost of Linux and Open Source 95
The Costs 96
The Open Source Effect 98
Adapting to an Imperfect Solution 101
Procuring Linux and Open Source Software 102
Contracts 103
Modifying Open Source Software 104
Summary 104
Chapter 7 Standards--One Linux 107
Why Standards? 108
Free Standards Group 109
Linux Standards Base 110
LSB Distribution Components 111
Conforming Applications 114
LSB Futures 115
Linux Internationalization 115
Testing and Conformance 116
Specialized Linux Distributions 117
Summary 117
Chapter 8 Operations--Using Linux and Open Source 119
Deployment 119
Geographic Deployments 120
Migration and Coexistence 121
Hardware 122
Data 123
Programming Models 126
Applications 127
Desktop 127
Licensing and Purchasing 128
Support 129
Commercial by Component 129
Integrated End-to-End 130
Self-Support with the Community 130
Influence and Relationships 131
Training 132
Summary 133
Part III Open Source in Business 135
Chapter 9 The Corporate Bazaar 137
The Cathedral and the Bazaar 138
Structure Follows Strategy 139
Structural Bazaar 141
Software Engineering VP 143
Technology Team 144
Human Resources 150
Testing and Integration 152
Finance 153
Market Planning 153
Go-to-Market 154
Other Structural Elements 154
Gated Communities 155
Risks and Issues 156
Summary 157
Chapter 10 Value as a Function of Time 159
Pharmaceutical Industry 160
Cost, Value, Return, and Time 161
Recovering from Commodity 163
Open Source Effect on Software 164
Devaluation as a Competitive Advantage 167
Value Stuck in Time 169
Pilot Foundation Classes 169
Jump 170
Summary 173
Chapter 11 Business Models--Making Money 175
Know Your Value 176
Commercial Software and Linux 177
Support and Services Tied to Open Source 178
Aggregating and Enhancing 179
Commercializing with a Dual-License 180
Hardware 182
Separate Device Interface from Device Functionality 182
Open Documentation to the Hardware Interface 184
Bundling with Hardware 185
End-of--Life Model 185
Building an Ecosystem 186
Summary 189
Chapter 12 Integrating Open Source into Your Business 191
Outbound Open Source 192
Business Case 193
Implementation 199
Marketing 201
Maintenance 202
Inbound Open Source 203
Training the Engineers 205
Company-Specific Decisions 205
Determining the License 206
Firewall 206
IT Development 207
Indemnification 207
Summary 208
Chapter 13 Human Resources--Getting Top Talent 209
Employment Contracts 210
Participation Policies 211
Hiring the Right Person 211
Technology 211
Community Home 212
Maintainer or Contributor 212
Community Visibility and Respect 213
Online Interactions 213
Contributions 214
Geography 215
Count the Hops 215
Structuring the Teams 216
Hiring Visible Leaders 216
Summary 217
Appendix A References and Resources 219
Appendix B Sample Copyright Assignment 227
Appendix C The GNU General Public License 231
Index 239
Read More Show Less

Preface

Preface

The expression "necessity is the mother of all invention" is so true. I would not have taken on this project if there was another text out there that I could have referenced. Just like every other topic these days, there is an abundance of information on the Internet if you want to do some research. I found no manuscript that consolidates, for a business audience, topics related to Linux and open source in one place. I also believe that some of the paradigm shifts initiated by the open source movement have not been documented for corporate managers, until now.

The Linux and open source movement has instigated "religious wars" between different camps, each presenting extreme but often unrealistic positions. This book is not about any war and does not take on a cause; it is about simple business. This text acknowledges that the Linux and open source phenomenon is real and is rapidly becoming omnipresent within the high-technology industry. However, simple acknowledgment is not enough to deal with the fundamental new business issues created by Linux and open source.

Who This Book Is For

This book is directed primarily at business managers. Some of you will be information technology (IT) managers in any given industry and may be trying to understand what value Linux and open source can deliver to your business. In other words, what is different that would cause you to want to change? Others will be managers developing software for internal use, or for commercial resale. In these cases, you will likely be looking at the open source movement as a way to leverage a huge population of developers, but may struggle to understand the best way to integrate with this communityand still return a profit for your investors. This book is from one manager to another and there are two levels of management that can benefit. If you are part of executive management, then this book will give you a guide to help drive your teams to find the right answers and help you ask the right questions when your teams make new proposals related to Linux and open source. If you are in the middle management ranks, this book should help you make sure that your plans and proposals to senior management are complete and address the new business paradigms of Linux and open source.

This book is not for developers. It does not navigate through any code modules for any software in Linux or any other open source project. There may be cases where uninitiated developers may be looking for a big-picture view of the Linux and open source communities. In these cases, this book will add value, at least in parts.

For the past few years, I have been working every day in this wonderful new way of doing business. It is always a challenge to take on a job where concepts are different and some of the fundamental rules change. It is natural for most people to reject these changes and do everything possible to maintain the status quo. I continue to deal with this resistance every day. While the business concepts associated with Linux and open source are still very new, corporate managers are rapidly discovering that they can no longer ignore what is happening. The wonderful thing about a market economy is that it requires new business concepts such as Linux and open source to prove themselves, and once proven, those who ignore them, invariably lose. Competitors who take notice and aggressively take advantage of new opportunities begin to take business from those who reject change. However, those who move too quickly to every fad that comes around waste resources and eventually either disappear or realign to an accepted business reality. There are those who believe that Linux and open source are still a passing fad, and some who even hope it will go away soon. The Linux operating system is now more than 10 years old. The open source movement, which started with the free software movement, is approaching 20 years of existence. It should be apparent that it is not going away, and that your business needs to deal with new realities.

How This Book Is Organized

Part 1 of the book is an initiation into the world of Linux and open source. Chapter 1 starts by examining the fundamental business reasons why this new movement is good for business and how it delivers value. It also establishes a core understanding of terminology and significant players so that you can follow the rest of the book. Chapter 2 digs deep into the Linux kernel. While the kernel may seem a deeply technical topic for business, in this new world, it is a core requirement to understand how the components fit together. The next chapter outlines the Open Source Definition. Since open source is at the core of what makes Linux work, understanding open source licenses is also a required component of basic training. Part 1 ends with a broad look at a number of communities and organizations you will need to be familiar with as you integrate your company with this movement.

Part 2 looks at the operational side of Linux. It starts with a look at Linux distributions to help you internalize how the Linux kernel integrates with all the pieces that constitute an operating system. Next, you will be taken through a detailed analysis of measuring IT costs with an open source mindset. We will also look at how key standards affect the cost picture and which ones will be important to the future success of Linux. Finally, we will take a look at operations from deployment, migration, and coexistence, to support and training.

The last part of this book explores in great detail the open source effect on the corporations and businesses developing commercial software. This is where the fundamental new business paradigms are examined. We will start by looking at how the open source community is structured, some of its cultural elements, and how it compares to a corporate structure. We will also examine the open source effect on the value delivered over time. This will prepare you for the following discussion, which is a detailed examination of open source business models and how to make money. The last two chapters examine in great detail the process of integrating open source within your company and the people management effects of working with this new community of developers.

Many of the concepts presented, especially in Part 3, will be very new to a business audience. Hopefully the information will give you enough guidance to manage open source projects within your company and help you build synergistic relationships with the great communities of developers out there.

As you being to understand how open source works and what it really is, I encourage you to look at this book as an open source project. I am but the maintainer, and I hope that any of you will become contributors. I present to you an imperfect project and hope you will share your genius, much as those who contributed to the review process, to evolve it into a great one.

—Martin Fink
Summer 2002

Read More Show Less

Introduction

Preface

The expression "necessity is the mother of all invention" is so true. I would not have taken on this project if there was another text out there that I could have referenced. Just like every other topic these days, there is an abundance of information on the Internet if you want to do some research. I found no manuscript that consolidates, for a business audience, topics related to Linux and open source in one place. I also believe that some of the paradigm shifts initiated by the open source movement have not been documented for corporate managers, until now.

The Linux and open source movement has instigated "religious wars" between different camps, each presenting extreme but often unrealistic positions. This book is not about any war and does not take on a cause; it is about simple business. This text acknowledges that the Linux and open source phenomenon is real and is rapidly becoming omnipresent within the high-technology industry. However, simple acknowledgment is not enough to deal with the fundamental new business issues created by Linux and open source.

Who This Book Is For

This book is directed primarily at business managers. Some of you will be information technology (IT) managers in any given industry and may be trying to understand what value Linux and open source can deliver to your business. In other words, what is different that would cause you to want to change? Others will be managers developing software for internal use, or for commercial resale. In these cases, you will likely be looking at the open source movement as a way to leverage a huge population of developers, but may struggle to understand the best way tointegrate with this community and still return a profit for your investors. This book is from one manager to another and there are two levels of management that can benefit. If you are part of executive management, then this book will give you a guide to help drive your teams to find the right answers and help you ask the right questions when your teams make new proposals related to Linux and open source. If you are in the middle management ranks, this book should help you make sure that your plans and proposals to senior management are complete and address the new business paradigms of Linux and open source.

This book is not for developers. It does not navigate through any code modules for any software in Linux or any other open source project. There may be cases where uninitiated developers may be looking for a big-picture view of the Linux and open source communities. In these cases, this book will add value, at least in parts.

For the past few years, I have been working every day in this wonderful new way of doing business. It is always a challenge to take on a job where concepts are different and some of the fundamental rules change. It is natural for most people to reject these changes and do everything possible to maintain the status quo. I continue to deal with this resistance every day. While the business concepts associated with Linux and open source are still very new, corporate managers are rapidly discovering that they can no longer ignore what is happening. The wonderful thing about a market economy is that it requires new business concepts such as Linux and open source to prove themselves, and once proven, those who ignore them, invariably lose. Competitors who take notice and aggressively take advantage of new opportunities begin to take business from those who reject change. However, those who move too quickly to every fad that comes around waste resources and eventually either disappear or realign to an accepted business reality. There are those who believe that Linux and open source are still a passing fad, and some who even hope it will go away soon. The Linux operating system is now more than 10 years old. The open source movement, which started with the free software movement, is approaching 20 years of existence. It should be apparent that it is not going away, and that your business needs to deal with new realities.

How This Book Is Organized

Part 1 of the book is an initiation into the world of Linux and open source. Chapter 1 starts by examining the fundamental business reasons why this new movement is good for business and how it delivers value. It also establishes a core understanding of terminology and significant players so that you can follow the rest of the book. Chapter 2 digs deep into the Linux kernel. While the kernel may seem a deeply technical topic for business, in this new world, it is a core requirement to understand how the components fit together. The next chapter outlines the Open Source Definition. Since open source is at the core of what makes Linux work, understanding open source licenses is also a required component of basic training. Part 1 ends with a broad look at a number of communities and organizations you will need to be familiar with as you integrate your company with this movement.

Part 2 looks at the operational side of Linux. It starts with a look at Linux distributions to help you internalize how the Linux kernel integrates with all the pieces that constitute an operating system. Next, you will be taken through a detailed analysis of measuring IT costs with an open source mindset. We will also look at how key standards affect the cost picture and which ones will be important to the future success of Linux. Finally, we will take a look at operations from deployment, migration, and coexistence, to support and training.

The last part of this book explores in great detail the open source effect on the corporations and businesses developing commercial software. This is where the fundamental new business paradigms are examined. We will start by looking at how the open source community is structured, some of its cultural elements, and how it compares to a corporate structure. We will also examine the open source effect on the value delivered over time. This will prepare you for the following discussion, which is a detailed examination of open source business models and how to make money. The last two chapters examine in great detail the process of integrating open source within your company and the people management effects of working with this new community of developers.

Many of the concepts presented, especially in Part 3, will be very new to a business audience. Hopefully the information will give you enough guidance to manage open source projects within your company and help you build synergistic relationships with the great communities of developers out there.

As you being to understand how open source works and what it really is, I encourage you to look at this book as an open source project. I am but the maintainer, and I hope that any of you will become contributors. I present to you an imperfect project and hope you will share your genius, much as those who contributed to the review process, to evolve it into a great one.

—Martin Fink
Summer 2002

Read More Show Less

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