Sunday, May 13, 2007

Start-ups and Open source

In December last year, when we started with the idea of Mobisy, we had little knowledge about open source revolution that is happening. In our Mobile Handset Embedded software world, everything is proprietary and there is little or no talk about open source. Chhavi having worked on LwIP, was our only source of information. Personally, my information was limited to Linux kernel. But then, it all changed when I downloaded Open Office in Feb 2007. I was amazed by the amount of functionality offered by an open source product , it was running smooth on my Windows XP and for converting docs to pdfs I now did not have to buy Adobe acrobat writer. For converting images to SVG I did not have to pay huge money to Adobe. To convert documents, I did not need to use slow and crappy Microsoft office. What more for our new laptop, we decided to not even install Microsoft office. And then we came across this whole wave of Open utilities. One of our first projects is based on an Open source browser for mobile phones, S60Webkit by Nokia. There is even one more open source browser available from Mozilla called as Minimo. Imagine if this was not available we had to start from writing/porting our own browser setting us back by at least 6 months and god knows how much money. Now even a key component like J2ME which provides most deployed applications execution environment to Mobile Developers all over the world is getting open sourced.
Purely from technical perspective, it has never been easier to run a successful start up. Open source community is a huge boost to the entrepreneurial spirit.
If you look carefully around your product, you will find multitude of open source projects which you can simply re use. And this also encourages the start ups to open source their own code to get more and more developers contributing to your platform to make it richer.
We are really entering an era where not only the internet is maturing with Web 2.0, software is really becoming a service as the open source community once envisaged.

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