Open Source Business Software One of Best Kept Secrets On the Web

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Linux-based open source business applications are growing in number, popularity and usability. As their popularity grows, so does the threat to existing enterprise software business models.

What if Seibel, Microsoft, and SalesForce.com’s next big CRM software competitor was a freely licensed Open Source application that any business could download and use from the web? How would SAP fair if the sales battle is no longer against rival Oracle but a highly adaptive, fast growing—and free-- software application whose development is powered by hundreds of communitarian-minded software geeks. If Linux’s introduction in 1994 was a shot across the bow of Microsoft and other enterprise software companies, today’s new breed of Open Source applications built on top of Linux may be the shot that ultimately sinks their ships.

Linux-based applications have arrived. While it’s not well known outside of the hardcore developer community, the website Sourceforge.net should be a big eye-opener for anyone who thinks the status quo is to remain much longer in the software industry. Visitors to SourceForge.net can freely download over 90,000 Open Source software applications in everything from Accounting, CRM, and Enterprise Resource Planning to Desktop Anti-Virus Protection and Firewall Security. It’s a remarkable array of software which demonstrates the growing power of the Open Source community.

Open Source software is particularly increasing in popularity with Small Business users. Applications like SugarCRM(TM), which offers Customer Relationship Management features comparable to its commercial counterparts, are favorites with Small Business who want simplicity and cost savings. Since its introduction a year ago, SugarCRM has been downloaded over 100,000 times. Tech savvy users can have SugarCRM up and running on their own server in a matter of minutes. Businesses without Linux experience or their own servers can turn to Managed Application Service providers like bNitro.com, which deploys and manages Open Source applications via the web, and get SugarCRM for a flat monthly fee. bNitro’s Standard Plan provides up to 24 users with web access to SugarCRM for just $39.95 per month and a modest setup fee. At less than $2 per month per user, managed Open Source CRM offers a substantial savings over commercial on-demand CRM which often starts at $65 per month per user for basic service.

Managed Application Service Providers like bNitro.com are an essential force in driving the new wave of Open Source adoption. Managed Providers generate economies of scale, via server sharing, that drive the cost to deliver Open Source applications down to a small fraction of their commercial counterparts. “We’re not burdened with the Microsoft or Oracle taxes that companies like SalesForce.com and Seibel are. We can run our web servers and applications entirely on Open Source software and thus our hard costs are really limited to hardware and network connectivity, which is abundant and inexpensive these days” says Jeff Minich, VP of Business Development for bNitro.com. “At these price points, widespread adoption of these Open Source applications becomes inevitable in my view” says Minich. “There are millions of small businesses who, once they figure out what they can do with Open Source software and how cheaply they can do it, will want to integrate these technologies into their day-to-day operations.”

About bNitro.com

bNitro.com is pioneering the delivery of on-demand Open Source business applications. bNitro.com was founded in 1999 to help small and medium sized businesses improve their competitive capabilities through the use of web-based technologies. Since then, over 20,000 businesses have relied on bNitro for managed application services, web consulting, and web design. bNitro.com is owned by iRadeon Group Inc. which is headquartered in Roseville, CA, near Sacramento. For more information please visit http://www.bnitro.com, or call 1-866-247-3211.

About SourceForge.net

SourceForge.net is part of OSDN, a wholly-owned subsidiary of VA Software Corp. (NasdaqNM:LNUX - News). OSDN is the largest independent, community-driven media network for IT and developers on the Web and publishes two world-renowned networks of Web sites: the OSDN technology network, which attracts every level of IT decision maker, influencer and buyer; and the MediaBuilder network, which reaches graphics and Web designers worldwide. OSDN sites include Slashdot.org, SourceForge.net, ITManagersJournal.com, DevChannels.org, Linux.com, ThinkGeek.com, and freshmeat.net. Monthly traffic on the network has recently reached an all time high of almost 250 million page views and 16 million unique visitors*.

SugarCRM is a trademark of SugarCRM Inc. in the United States, the European Union and other countries.

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Jeff Minich
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