Reports about open source tend to be rather one-sided: either polemics against, or propaganda for, depending on who's paying for them. That makes a new report written by Jim Norton, former President of the BCS, with the rather unoriginal title "Open for Business", particularly welcome, since it has been sponsored by Amadeus, which describes itself as follows:
a leading transaction processor for the global travel and tourism industry. We provide transaction processing power and technology solutions to both travel sellers and providers:
On the travel provider side this includes:
116 Insurance companies
50+ cruise and ferry lines
190+ tour operators
85,000+ hotel properties
26 car rental
That means it is focussed on providing solutions to the travel and tourism industry, rather than espousing a particular technological viewpoint. Obviously, though, the fact that it has sponsored this new report means that it believes that open source is a viable approach here. Indeed, the subtitle of the report is "The value of open source software in transaction processing", which is another reason why it's noteworthy: it's not an angle that has been explored much before.
Thet report also includes some interesting information about what Amadeus is doing on the open source front:
At the operating system level, an ongoing transition from proprietary systems to Linux now sees AltÃ©a Reservations, Inventory and Departure Control System substantially running on open systems.
Many leading innovations including e-Retail, Dynamic Website Manager and Extreme Search have been built with extensive use of open source components.
Amadeus ARIA Templates – the framework upon which Amadeus IT Group's web solutions are based – has recently been made open source, allowing third party developers to use it without charge.
That's certainly much more than I was aware of, and is a great vote of confidence by the company. After all, travel systems need extremely high reliability, so moving more of its infrastructure to open source speaks volumes.
As for the report [.pdf], well, regular readers of this blog won't find much that's new (aside from a footnote that claims "GNU is an open source operating system" - whoops). But it's short and offers a useful summary of the issues that could be handy as material to pass around to people meeting these ideas for the first time. In any case, it's good to have its central message that open source is not just open for business, but capable of powering some of the most demanding applications there too.