A technology platform acts as a valuable asset in the software market. Proprietary software could make the fortune of a company. Some of the examples are Microsoft Windows, Intel Processors, and Sony Play Stations. A company that becomes the leader in a particular
platform market, has the ability to grow itself to the limits of the sky, but it is the responsibility of the company now to grow its market. There could exist an open source technology platform too, like Linux, which is providing tough fight to Windows in the OS market. The objective of this paper is to study the contrast between 3 leading proprietary and open source platforms. Platforms we choose here are:
Microsoft Windows, or simply Windows, is a proprietary Graphical User Interface based operating system, developed, marketed and sold by Microsoft Corp. and is not free. It is divided into several classes, each of which is intended for specific user type. Active families
of windows are: Windows NT, Windows Embedded or Windows Mobile. Microsoft introduced a Graphical User Interface based operating system, on November 20, 1985, designed to work as a shell for the MS DOS, in an effort to get hold of the GUI market. Windows has been able to cover almost 90% of the market share surpassing Mac OS which was introduced in 1984. The major reason was a no bond with any specific hardware company for the OS. However since 2012 the sale of Windows has depreciated remarkably and the new champion of the market is Android OS, which is an open source platform.
OS X is a series of Graphical User Interface based UNIX operating system, developed and marketed by Apple Inc. and is the world’s second largest OS in terms of sale after Windows. It is the proprietary platform used by Apple since its origin. OS X is the successor to OS 9 which was a similar success. The major reason of its popularity is the security offered, which is far better than the windows, the only drawback is the cost which is far high than windows.
Ubuntu is basically a Graphical User Interface based Linux operating system, and it is an open source platform which could be used by anyone. The code is freely available to anyone and it could be easily modified then forked back to the community website, thus providing
many custom versions of it. The company earns from the sales of services related to the OS which is also of minimal charge. Ubuntu encourages people to use and distribution of free software.
In this paper we contrast between the proprietary and the open source operating systems in use these days. What we try to learn here is what is best for the public to use. We look closely to three of the most famous operating systems in use today. Two of which are proprietary software of Microsoft and Apple, i.e. Windows and OS X, whereas the third one is an open source operating system available to the public for their use and for technology up-gradations by them. The OS chosen here are all GUI based to keep the contrast fair. It is to be noted that if a company is marketing a proprietary software then it is in double profit, as it is gaining the monetary profit from the software itself, and also earn from the software licences which it lend to the application developers for brings new apps in the market. Whereas an open source system is freely available to everyone, and its code is easily available over internet, for modifications by the public. Anyone can modify the code and make it a new version of that software. This increases the diversity and software production cost. In addition to this, as it is free in nature, many people prefer to use them as they also offer support to many of the free software too which are helpful in daily needs.
This task is to take up a case study of one of the platforms chosen in task 1. The platform I choose here for the case study is Ubuntu. Ubuntu being an open source technology platform provides a sense of astonishment when seen performing miraculous roles. I choose Ubuntu as the topic of case study to show that an open source platform can also beat well settled proprietary platforms in terms of technology and the features offered.
The third largest city of Germany, Munich is a place inhabited by more than 1.5 million people. The local government body comprises of approximately 33,000 people out of which 16,000 use computer as an important and integral part of their daily duties. With the systems
located far apart and with the users having varying needs, it is essential to connect them in such a way so it would be easier to communicate between them and to pass the information between them. In 2001, there were 22 organizations working to provide IT infrastructure support to other organizations as well as managing their own needs, like policy management, patches, installations, user level access, networks and sharing. Etc. Windows NT which was the most popular OS at that time was on the brink of its life end,
whereas windows XP the new GUI instalment from windows was too far to be waited for, hence there was a need of something new which could take the place of the previous system and should be capable enough to satisfy all the needs of the existing system, such as:
Cross platform support.
Durable and easy to maintain.
Freedom from vendor lock-in.
Use of an open source technology platform was never an obvious choice for the city of Munich, as almost all the city corporate and government departments were using Microsoft technologies since their start, from Microsoft enabled macros to the networking servers used for the inter communication between various public and private departments. It was obvious that for a short span of time the city could have survived with the use of Microsoft technologies, but keeping in mind both the short term and long term effects and goals it was
decided to go up pursuing an open source system to build the city network. The question of concern now was to choose with which open source platform to work with. As the complexity mentioned above, it was clear that it’s not going to be a simple desktop application migration program, but it was going to be a re-organization of the entire city’s IT infra-structure. As the project was could have been able to start a trend of similar migrations from Microsoft technologies, Microsoft lobbied hard to derail this process. It made CEO Steve Ballmer to come back early from vacations just in order to fly to Munich and meet with the mayor in person.
The first shift from Microsoft technology took place in 2006 with Debian installed on few systems as a pilot project. The project shift was good but there was needed continuous and long term support of hardware and supporting system software. So, in 2009, city switched
their system needs to Kubuntu, a version of Ubuntu operating system of Linux kernel. As the project was a big migration of technology from Microsoft to an open source platforms, so the stakeholders had the doubts of their own, hence public forums and blogs were created to keep the public and stakeholders up to date and providing them a platform to raise their concerns and get satisfactory answers.
By 2012, the LiMux project reached its goal of deploying Linux based operating system on to 12,000 devices. Migration to an open source technology platform from a proprietary platform saved the city €10 Million, an amount which was being used just to bring external companies to the city and setting up the system for their services. By 2012 city saved €6.8 million on Microsoft Licensing alone. In August 2013, the total cost of the project reached €23 Million which is much lower than the cost of updating to Windows 7 and newer version of Microsoft Office, which would have cost the city around €34 Million.
It is evident here from this case study that an open source operating system could take the place of a proprietary operating system and can perform better than that, as it is proved in the above case. Ubuntu has been used as an operating system for the city’s working board,
comprising of those who previously used to work on Windows platform. They not only migrated easily to Ubuntu but also found it easier to use. The city found it much cheaper than the Windows technology and hence backed it for further use.