The Limits of Open Source - Conclusion
I've tried to show that open source is highly appropriate in some
circumstances and simply not a meaningful option in others. One
example was given where the open source model will never be
adopted. This is representative of industries where the software
in question is integral to the very nature of the business.
Though these same companies could very easily use open source
software for infrastructure, they will not use open source where
the software itself is an essential part of the core processes
that differentiate themselves from their competitors. Other
examples might include many manufacturing industries,
electronics, biotech, pharmaceuticals and chemicals.
The medical profession was looked at as an example of an industry
that currently has no significant open source projects being used
to manage medical practices. With small changes in the licensing
model and support from an appropriate professional association,
the association working with its members could significantly improve
the software used to manage their businesses, and both the
association and members would be much better
off for doing so. Other professions and the non profit industry
itself, have many close parallels to the medical profession.
The government in general and schools in particular have much to
gain and little to lose by moving quickly to discard all
proprietary software and adopt a pure open source approach. They
owe it to the taxpayers and students to do so.
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