Study: During Hard Times, FOSS Has Tremendously Helped Small Businesses
At the recent OSCON conference, the folks at O'Reilly released the results of a study, done in conjunction with the ISP Bluehost, called "Economic Impact of Open Source on Small Business: A Case Study." It includes an extraordinary amount of data based input from over two million Bluehost customers and 4,000 survey respondents. The study makes the case that open source has had a profound impact on small businesses during these tough economic times.
Consider a few of the findings from the report:
- 60% of web hosting usage is by SMBs, 71% if you include non-profits. Only 22% of hosted sites are for personal use.
- WordPress is a far more important open source product than most people give it credit for. In the SMB hosting market, it is as widely used as MySQL and PHP, far ahead of Joomla and Drupal, the other leading content management systems.
- Open source hosting alternatives have at least a 2:1 cost advantage relative to proprietary solutions.
Ask some people how open source has impacted small businesses and they'll speculate that perhaps a few free applications are in use at SMBs, but the O'Reilly report makes clear that from web hosting to application development, open source has helped them. SMBs are even recognizing that funding open source, and combining paid developers with volunteer developers results in cost savings and efficiencies.
Here's an excerpt from O'Reilly's Mike Hendrickson summary of the report:
Indeed, these are points that we began making all the way back in 2008.