Open-source Openbravo buys your ticket on Portland's public transportation

Open source is at the heart of Portland's TriMet ticket purchasing system, and much of the rest of what we do.

Matt Asay Contributing Writer
Matt Asay is a veteran technology columnist who has written for CNET, ReadWrite, and other tech media. Asay has also held a variety of executive roles with leading mobile and big data software companies.
Matt Asay

Portland is one of my favorite cities on the planet, and today I learned to love it even more. Portland's transportation agency, TriMet, has been using open-source Openbravo POS since 2007 in its automated system to sell tickets and passes to the public. $4.5 million in transactions later, Openbravo POS continues to deliver.

Why Openbravo?

At the time of the selection, they evaluated Openbravo POS against some the most popular commercial POS solutions and our beloved open source application came out on top. The deciding factors were its simplicity, rich functionality and the quality of its code. The implementation project was very rapid and within a very short period, TriMet had integrated Openbravo with its existing payment service, selected the hardware for the terminals, and was up and running serving its customers.

Every time I've been in Portland I've used TriMet's MAX light rail service, and bought my tickets using this system. I never knew that open source was powering the transaction until today, and even as an advisor to Openbravo, I had never heard of this success story.

I'm guessing that much of what we do is powered by open source, but we don't know it. That Google search you do. That Orbitz service you use. And so on. It's all open source.