I daily come in contact with the notion that a Linux system may not compete with a similar function or system that is closed-source. But is this notion of free software really true? Many believe that since it is world-readable text this application is nothing more to think of then the pot-smoking hippie that wrote it. I use systems of both types (open and closed) and see both the potential and actual strengths with both but cannot shake of the feeling that closed-source is a golden cage. I imagine that there is a question of differential philosophies at work here, on one side we have the archetype of the Opensource hippie on the other the enterprise suits.
“free software is a matter of liberty, not price. To understand the concept, you should think of free as in free speech, not as in free beer”
But this post will be about the positive effects that a Open-source system can have for any company that utilize it correctly. Since we have big-wig actors within all the field of open and “free” we can always look and Redhat or Vmware who both base their systems on the Linux Kernel. Others like Canonical utilizes both kernel and a myriad of different small projects to create a product, if this make the Ubuntu solution a Frankenstein is yet to be discovered. So in the end the best solution is based upon what you want to do, a company that mainly creates spreadsheets might have a better discussion with Microsoft then the company that wants to build a PHP application.
The most prominent feature that a Open system has against a closed is the basic fact that in the first case you can actually change core functionality, which is harder to do with a closed source product. In the end it all comes down to flexibility and the fact that a Open system more often then not gives you greater freedoms to streamline it to your needs. Closed source are often a Swiss-army knife but when you need the specific screwdriver and it is not on that knife you will have a hard time getting it added.