There are many different reasons why enterprises use open source software. Based on several case studies, I will outline some of these reasons:
- Cost savings: DB Systems, the IT service provider of the Deutsche Bahn (German Railroads), decided already in 2003 to use Linux as a strategic IT platform. The switch from Solaris machines to x86 servers with Linux saved about half of the costs for hardware and licenses which account for 40 percent of the total costs.
- Flexibility: in order to build a flexible SOA architecture without any vendor lock-in, Union Investment decided to use only software components that comply to open standards. The result: a complex enterprise application integration infrastructure built with open source components which delivers the needed flexibility.
- Control: software in airplanes must be supported for 30 years and more. No software vendor guarantees the availability of his development tools for such a long period. Airbus therefore founded TOPCASED, a project devoted to the development of an open source toolkit for the development of critical applications and systems.
- Security: the Nordrheinische Ärzteversorgung implemented a smartcard authentification system based on open source, because its security needs could not be fulfilled by any ready-made solution in the market.