Cloud computing, a beneficiary of open source software



A nature of open source software (OSS) is that, anyone can have a copy of the source code as long as he or she agrees to the license of the OSS. For countries who want to expedite the development of their own information technologies, OSS provides a precious learning opportunity, and is a wonderful start point. Governments of these countries also tend to believe that, comparing to commercial software, OSS is less risky in terms of being controlled by vendors. In other words, the usage of OSS is inspected from a strategic point of view by some governments. It is linked to the security of the national information system infrastructure. Therefore, in some countries, governments encourage the application of OSS. For example, Chinese government has been showing its intention publicly for years. Preference on OSS is commonly witnessed during government procurement.


The good news is, cloud service providers, who are applying open source software
extensively, look like a beneficiary of government's preferential policy to me yet.


OSS are already been used pervasively in cloud computing world. Vendors build their cloud computing data center on top of mainstream OSS, like Linux, Xen, Hadoop, MySQL and so on. Apart from government support, OSS is likely to hold the economic advantage over commercial software. Typically, license models of commercial software are charged by user number or processor / core number. However, cloud computing systems are designed to serve high volume users. Charging by user number is not a good deal in this case. Cloud systems also run software on virtual machines. One physical machine usually runs multiple virtual machines, which means all the virtual processors of each virtual machine may be counted in the commercial license models. Such license models are financially unfavorable in cloud computing realm. In contrast, most open source licenses are cloud computing friendly, and have much less limitations on cloud-based deployment.



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Jie Shen

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