Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Fixing capitalism with the open source

I never thought I'd write about capitalism on this blog :-)

So I was flying to Minsk the other day and I was about to enjoy my holidays at home. While my fellow passengers were reading the home newspapers, I was reading an article by Bill Gates "How to fix capitalism" published by "Time". I knew I was looking a bit pretentious :-) at a time, but it was an interesting read. I picked up my copy of Time in the Dublin airport for the only reason - Bill Gates was looking at me from the front page. Actually, the article is called differently online, not sure why, possibly because 'fixing' sounds a bit strong to some hard-core capitalists :-).

That article is a brief and concise guide on how businesses can help those in great need and still make money out of it. For someone like myself knowing not much about how the business is really made it was quite an inspiring read - I was flying high - literally :-) at that moment of time and I was imagining myself doing some strategic business decisions which would make the world a better place.

Like the way the open source movement is affecting the way the business is made in the software industry, it's likely what Bill Gates wrote about will affect the way the business is made in general, sooner or later. Customers will prefer to buy from producers who are known to be associated with good causes.

The open source business model is primarily based on the promise that once the ubiquity is reached there will always be customers which would prefer to buy a certified version of the open-source product, that is, pay for the top-class support.

The open source, by definition, is free and it's being doing well in making capitalism more creative by lowering the cost of entry for those who need to write functioning applications fast. Not everyone who is using the open source software is in great need but those who really are can certainly avail of the freely available software.

And it's likely that customers will eventually reward vendors who're investing in the open source - simply because the open-source vendors will be seen as the ones who are associated with the good cause.