This dissertation analyses Open Source technology, its risks and benefits, its past,
present and future and finally its impact on the business community. It will give a
very clear picture by the end of it, as to how it has become so popular, how companies
are making money from it and the current views of companies in Ireland on Open
A community of developers from around the world designs open Source software, by
the use of the Internet. This means that no one person is the sole owner or designer of
the source code, so any person can use the software for anything they like. You can
get software designed and customised for your specific purposes on web sites like sourceforge.net. This has 638,806 users, which is more than work for Microsoft
worldwide. With such a huge number of users, it is easy to understand the speed at
which the software is developed and its resulting high quality.
The main advantages of using Open Source in your organisation today are the reduced
licensing costs, the greater freedom to customise the software, and the freedom to
duplicate, replicate and distribute the software. There are very few disadvantages.
However the current lawsuit between SCO UNIX and IBM regarding patent law, may
well alter the future path for Open Source.
Currently companies in Ireland are bec')ming more aware of the possibilities open
source offers to a commercial organisation. Companies in Ireland have a favourable
view of Open Source and its benefits. A majority of the organisations questioned for this thesis are looking at moving from proprietary software to open source. Many governments throughout the EU zone, require all government tenders to evaluate the open source option before
implementing proprietary software. The Irish government are currently analysing this
development, with a view to implementing the same legislation here. Without a
doubt, Open Source Technology is the biggest thing to become mainstream since the