Thursday, April 28, 2011

A fully open source company

As many of you know, I've used Microsoft products most of my professional life. Beginning way back in DOS days and carrying right on through to Windows XP and Vista, I was a Microsoft man through and through. I even became a partner in an effort to deepen my relationship with the company. But, even in my most "go go Microsoft" days, I've always loved freedom and I've never seen Microsoft as a path to freedom. A path to enormous boatloads of cash, yes, freedom no.

So over the years I started using open source tools whenever I could. I liked the idea that I didn't have to worry about infringing on patents or sharing the tools I used with others. I liked the camaraderie open source provided. Not to mention I loved the free price tag that came with it all too. But still, year after year and release after release I kept pumping money into the Microsoft Machine: I'd buy the latest version of Office, Visual Studio, Windows, and I'd diligently encourage my customers to do the same.

Then, I started to notice how Microsoft dealt with competitors and, specifically, Linux. They didn't compete, the attempted to destroy through a combination of patents, lies, and other trickery. On a landscape where they weren't *technically* better, they worked to silence their competitors legally. Being a freedom lover, I was disgusted and, last year, I moved my entire consulting company away from Microsoft products (including Windows) and on to Linux and other open source software. For the last year, everything my company has done has been Linux focused and, I have to say, I feel *really* good about it.

Today, I'm happy to announce a huge next step: we're going to release our first major software package written for Linux on Linux in July. The software will be an electronic medical records package similar to the OpenEMR product we sell now. But out goal and focus with the project is to release an aesthetically pleasing, user friendly, piece of software for Linux. Eventually, the software will be cross platform with a Mac version being released in September and a Windows version by the beginning of the year. Right now, we are totally focused on the Linux release right now.

I feel good about this step for a number of reasons. First, it takes my small consultancy fully into a deeper commitment to Linux. Second, it allows us to make a significant and real contribution to the Linux software ecosystem. Third, it allows us to demonstrate in a real way that Microsoft is wrong; that Linux *is* ready for real business desktop use. That is perhaps the best least in my mind.

I'm betting my future success on Linux and open source. I believe in freedom and I reject the lie that only a "tightly integrated stack of Microsoft software" can do well in the general marketplace. Good software will thrive - wherever it lives.

Now, all I have to do is hang on for the ride.

Sent on the Sprint® Now Network from my BlackBerry®

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