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Brazilian Enterprises Embrace Open Source

Some 70 percent of companies with more than a thousand employees are open source users, a survey found.

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The Instituto Sem Fronteiras, a Brazilan research firm, found that 73 percent of companies with more than a thousand employees are open source users. "This information contradicts the reasoning that says smaller companies must be the most adherent to this software, because it's open," said Alvaro Leal, an institute analyst.

As a possible reason for these companies' interest in open source software, the Institute cited the ability to deploy lower cost platforms that can reduce costs, including reducing costs of security.

Additionally, open source technology now has a track record of solid performance that makes adoption easier, said Leal. "Some years ago, for instance, open platforms were not accepted as mission critical. But today, this situation has completely changed, as we can see through users' commentaries: better interface, better performance, and even a better security condition."

Now, open source software is used, in most of the companies, for Web servers, e-mail servers, and critical mission servers, and increasingly adopted on desktops.

Also noted was an increase of 12.4 percent in open source software use in PCs during the last 12 months by the companies already using it. On the other hand, 53 percent of the respondents still don't use such software in PCs, they said.

Another aspect that made large companies excited about using open source software is related to total cost of ownership (TCO). "Some time ago, we used to think open systems TCO could be more expensive, because of costs with maintenance, support, and other solutions. During the research, we realized that, rather than that, they presented a very smaller need for any kind of repair or maintenance," Leal said, referring to the response of 66 percent of the system users. Also, security and the ease of customization were mentioned by open source user companies as possible reasons to adopt these systems.

The Institute interviewed about a thousand companies of varying sizes and industry segmants from November 2007 to December 2007.

Small companies were also surveyed, with only 31 percent saying they had used open source software.

This story originally appeared in Portuguese here.

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