Friday, April 13, 2012

One Billion Dollars

Red Hat Becomes Open Source’s First $1 Billion Baby (Wired)

Maybe something like this could convince the architects in Pennsylvania that open source software can be a legitimate and stable corporate business enterprise.

4 comments:

Pete said...

We'll see. I'm planning on moving to Scribus for sheet layout and referencing. It's a feature of full AutoCAD that is missing a lot of functionality we need and is slow, to boot. Furthermore, we can't afford to have full AutoCAD for everyone in the office, so it creates a dangerous bottleneck. Anyhow, I'm going to recommend we post whatever system we arrive at on our website. Generosity and goodwill are the currency of the internet. If we do start using Scribus so heavily, it will be important to show support for it.

Don Jason said...

I really do wonder if in the tech situation you have in your office something like Red Hat Enterprise Linux (or Canonical paid support for Ubuntu, or SUSE Enterprise, etc.) could be a solution that solves a lot of the problems that you have described. Maybe just for a couple of work stations and your servers. You get flexibility by having multiple systems in the same office, improved server stability, freedom for you to set up long term open source work-flows, and your bosses are reassured that they are not being hustled into some sort of black sorcery witchcraft mumbo jumbo that their quirky tech support staff member dreamed up in his free time.

Pete said...

It's true that enterprise customers like to buy solutions rather than make them. For three reasons: It gives them someone to sue when something goes wrong. Paid support ostensibly has greater continuity in the long term. ("The what if Pete were hit by a bus problem.") And it's disruptive to the established hierarchy for workers to get too familiar with their tools. ("The worker gets worked, and the user get used.")

On the server side, Red Hat or Canonical could definitely help us. My employers wouldn't pay for a support contract right off the bat, so the sensible thing would be to install Ubuntu or CentOS and leave the option open to purchase support.

The AutoCAD sheet layout thing doesn't really apply here. My insight was simple: "AutoCAD sucks at page layout. Hey, a specialized page layout program would probably do a better job in a fraction of the time & effort. Construction drawings are really only vector graphics, blocks of text and some tabular data. Hey look, Scribus has a Python programming interface."

If you use technology, you will be tinkering sooner or later. If you get sold a "solution" like AutoCAD, you will be tinkering much later, after the canned software doesn't meet your needs. This misanthropic hacker likes to tinker.

Pete said...

Oh, so I've explored installing Linux on our existing Win2003 server and found out some interesting things.

A Samba domain takes care of 90% of our needs. I'd also move a couple of services that are running on a beige box running Ubuntu onto our server proper, like LDAP.

Quickbooks supports Linux but only in its most expensive form. The upgrade would cost us $2,400 with no added functionality. This is the biggest stumbling block.

It seems that Unix support existed for our copier and plotter when they were made 10 years ago, but you had to pay for a special print controller. Our plotter is essentially a giant inkjet printer. HPLIP doesn't support it, though.