Statistics on the growth of a few open source programs-such as Apache (a webserver), Linux (an operating system), FreeBSD (an operating system), and PostgreSQL (a database server) - show that Linux and other open source applications are finding increasing acceptance in the global marketplace in small and large companies alike. In this article, we'll consider why open source is growing so fast, and what it means to small companies.
Apache: On the Warpath
is a free open source webserver that runs on most operating systems. The following graph shows how it has been taking market share from Microsoft's webserver (and others) since 1995.
It's not that Microsoft hasn't tried to take over this market. Users have found Apache to be easier to implement, more secure, and more reliable than its competitors. It is also more reparable when there are problems (after all, you have the source code) and, most of all, it is free.
The largest and most successful software-as-a-service (SaaS) providers have all chosen free open source operating systems such as Linux
as their primary platforms for serving their high performance Web sites.
|Large, Successful SaaS Providers Choice of Operating Systems
||CRM - Sales
||Linux and FreeBSD
||CRM - Support
These companies absolutely cannot afford downtime. They have plenty of money; they aren't choosing Linux because it's free.
Red Hat is a company that sells services and support for the Linux operating system. They have annual sales of $257 million and their five year stock chart shows substantial growth.
(NasdaqNM:RHAT) Source: Yahoo.com
How does a company that gives away its products show this kind of revenue growth? Basically, they sell support and other services to large enterprises who are converting from Windows and Unix servers to Linux.