Letter from the President – Open Source

Letter from the President

“Open Source”

November 2010

One of the best, if not the best, timelines showing the chronological history of the personal computer was written by  Ken Polsson and starts, of course, with the transistor in 1947.  http://pctimeline.info/  What a truly short time it has been from then to now. Things really get interesting in 1968 when Moore and Noyce found Intel and of course, required in all these new tools for the small business and individual are the need for an operating system.  Wikipedia does a decent job showing a comprehensive listing of operating systems which predate by decades the ones we take for granted today; Windows for the PC and the MAC OS in all their iterations and flavors: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timeline_of_operating_systems

Enter the elephant in the room, open source.  Open source software has now developed to the point where nearly every individual and small business can utilize programs which can significantly impact their bottom line.  With the release of Ubuntu 10.10 a powerful, elegant and yes, fast-as-a-race-horse operating system is available and the price~~free. Free is a good number not just in a recession, but adoption of a free operating system and free utility programs can drastically lower the operating costs of a small business.  http://www.ubuntu.com/

Beyond the operating system, there are now open source software programs that rival their equivalents in the Mac and Windows world with programs for email, spread sheets, word document processing, and pdf generators.  Programs also exist for power point-like presentations, accounting, SQL server applications, and the list goes on and on.  For the Top 50 open source software programs, follow the links to this terrific article:

We may well be on a new cusp of computing power for the person and the personal computer.  This year’s Nobel Prize winners in physics went to two scientists for their research into graphene.  Graphene, we believe, will be as important as the invention of the transistor and introduce a new generation of computers.   This new generation of hardware is almost certainly going to run by open source software.  The near future may indeed be troublesome for investors in traditional companies like Microsoft and Apple.  These imminent developments and the growing trend towards open source software promises to finally offer stable alternatives to the incredibly effective monopolies that have dominated the microcomputer world from the inception of the PC to now.

Government could save billions; small business could save thousands and the individual could save hundreds with wide-scale adoption of open source.  Personal computers are likely to soon be more efficient, more cost effective, and less controlled leading to more creative applications.

Roger Hutchison

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