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Real enterprises talking about real open source

It's amazing how far open source has come.

I'm spending the day talking with enterprises about open source. Part of it comes from my involvement with Alfresco's Community Conference, and part stems from my moderating a Zimbra webinar. It's refreshing to hear the excitement around open source. In fact, many of the companies with whom I've been talking are proactively looking for open-source alternatives to solve their business needs.

I've been talking with over 50 of the world's largest media, financial services, higher education, and government organizations, as well as others from different vertical markets.

It's shocking to me to hear these companies talk about open source. They proactively want open source. Not just another enterprise application. An open-source enterprise application.

These are the biggest companies on the planet. They're leading the way to open source. How can proprietary software companies hope to compete? By consolidating, closing ecosystems, and otherwise limiting customer choice such that existing customers have nowhere to go. But customers will, anyway. There's just no stopping the momentum.

Part of that momentum comes from the cost advantage of open source, but the customers I'm talking to are talking about flexibility of development, ease of distribution, performance, and other benefits of open source. How can proprietary software companies hope to compete long term with open source's superior value proposition?