Thursday, 28 March 2013

Guest Post: “Making Money With Open Source” - Bill Quinn

By Bill Quinn, CEO at LPI UK & Ireland promoting Linux Certification. 

LPI UK were honoured to have the time of maddog for a far too short a visit to the UK. maddog had managed to alter his schedule to facilitate two days in the UK on a return from CeBIT (the world's largest computer and telephony show, held in Hannover, Germany every year).

The theme for the trip was “Making Money with Open Source” delivered to Academia – students, the next generation. Whilst the focus of the trip was what you can do with Open Source, how people have successful businesses with Open Source and the flexibility that there is with Open Source it is particularly timely with the demand for highly qualified IT people. It is estimated that by 2015 there will be 300,000 jobs in Europe in IT that can not be filled because the skills are not there. 90% of hiring managers say it is hard to find Linux pros. 93% of employers plan to hire a Linux pro in the next six months.

Stop one was University of Cambridge, known for their work on XEN virtualization, and more recently for the development of the Raspberry Pi. The afternoon consisted of maddog, David Rusling, CTO of Linaro and Heidi Howard of Signposts.

Linaro is the place where engineers from the world's leading technology companies define the future of Linux on ARM. The company is a not-for-profit engineering organization with over 120 engineers working on consolidating and optimizing open source software for the ARM architecture.

Signposts is a concept to replace the concept of logging into a central server to make the connection between two clients behind NAT routers, among other things.

maddog gave a brief History of himself, and the people he had met which then flowed into examples of how you can make money with Open Source. The talk articulated the benefits of Openness.

Tuesday was a busy day – 3 stops in 3 different locations. Stop one was with The Open University to be interviewed by Andrew Smith (Lecturer Department of Communication and Systems Faculty of Maths, Computing and Technology).  Andrew had brought a series of questions from his students about Linux, Open Source and Opportunities. The answers will be edited into a podcast.

Next stop was Barnfield College. The first thing you see as you enter the College is the computer suites, or should these be computing, voice  and networking suites given the amount of Cisco, IP Phones and Computers? Barnfield have been championing Linux in education for some time, with many of the students working on extra curricular activities relating to Open Source. It was announced that week that Barnfield student Nehmaan Ahmed is part of the UK team for WorldSkills in Leipzig. WorldSkills is akin to a world championship in various vocational fields – Nehmaan is representing the UK in the “IT Network Systems Administration” category.

The international competition lasts for four days, with four hours and forty-five minutes of competition time per day. The competitors will be tested on the skills in the following domains:  Cisco Routing and Switching,  Cisco Wireless, Cisco Voice over IP, Cisco Security (the ASA firewall), Linux (including Apache2, Samba, RADIUS, iptables, Postfix, BIND9, Nagios, Cacti and lots more), Microsoft Windows 7 & Server 2008R2. There will be thirty countries competing in Germany in July.

Next was the final stop of Birmingham City University where the Faculty of Technology, Engineering & the Environment facilitated a talk with maddog and Phil Andrews, VP Northern and Eastern Europe for Red Hat. Even though maddog and Phil Andrews hadn’t discussed before their talks, the two talks complemented each other very well. Red Hat focused on the Enterprise – how the Enterprise needed a stable and supported version of Open Source which is what Red Hat brings through its subscription model. maddog focused on the technical person who wanted to start a business. maddog is a fantastic speaker who brought real life examples to the talk. 

One example was the company in Brazil who needed GIS software to explore the Amazon. The cost was $ 500,000 a licence and they needed 9 licences. What broke the deal though was that the Brazilian company needed the software in Portuguese. The software company advised that it was not in their best interest to deliver a version in Portuguese. Subsequently the Brazilian company contracted with a local Open Source developer who delivered what they needed, in a shorter timeframe and for a cost of $ 350,000. The cost was not the primary issue, it was the fact that they could see the code and develop it how they needed it – in this case local language.

LPI UK would like to thank maddog for an incredibly informative and interesting couple of days, at the same time extending gratitude to the speakers, the facilitators and the people who came to listen.