The promise of open source; how has it affected your business?

Travels, like life in general, can often be filled with coincidental meetings and accidental occurrences. My recent trip to the Intel Developer Forum in Shanghai China was no exception. As I lumbered down the long skinny hallway of the jumbo jet that was to be my home for the next dreaded 13 hours, I approached my cramped middle seat in the very back of the plane to find a familiar face smiling at me from the seat next to my own.

Now it was no surprise to see other Intel employees on this entirely full flight to Shanghai, but it was nice to see a former colleague seated next to me. This meeting proved even more fortuitous as I later in the week ran into him once again just in time to sit down for a brief conversation about the important work his team is doing in the realm of open source software at Intel.

Ram Peddibhotla, Director of Intel's Open Source Technology Center, spoke with me about Intel's efforts in leading a variety of open source projectsincluding moblin.org, the open source project devoted to developing an open operating system for the mobile internet devices (MIDs) that were the talk of IDF.

In addition to moblin.org, Mr. Peddibhotla discussed the variety of other critical open source projects in which Intel experts are instrumentally involved, including lesswatts.org and as maintainers of the Linux kernel itself.

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Certainly not new to many of you in the IT Community, open source software continues to drive more and more of the critical applications we use to power business everyday. So I'm curious:

  • How many of you have either adopted or are evaluating open source software for critical functions like customer relation management (CRM), business intelligence, communication apps such as email or other productivity tools?

  • Are there particular benefits or challenges you've faced when implementing this software?

  • And are there particular applications you wouldn't consider using open source software to accomplish?