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'The Economist': Open source a bright spot in 2009

The recession may be comparatively kind to technology, and particularly open source.

While things look bleak right now for the global economy, The Economist offers some compelling reasons for optimism in the technology industry, and particularly for open source:

In many ways, the previous IT downturn marked the industry's coming of age. In its wake, the industry was no longer mainly about "hot" new technologies that made maximal use of Moore's law....Firms have since started to opt more for good-enough "cold" wares, which save them money and allow for more flexibility: commodity hardware, open-source software such as the Linux operating system and programs accessed over the Internet, or "software as a service" (SaaS). The crisis will only speed up this shift, not least because many of the cold technologies have themselves become more mature.

Is open-source an economic panacea? No, at least not (yet) for vendors. But it's an exceptional way for enterprises to trim the fat from their IT budgets without hitting bone and muscle.