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Open-Source Startups Speak Out in Germany

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Entrepreneurs attending a forum in Germany this week showed how they plan to use clever open-source products—commercially—to compete with proprietary software companies.

The Open Source Forum gave software entrepreneurs from Europe and the United States an opportunity to present their business ideas to venture capitalists and other IT experts. Their message was loud and clear: Open source is a disruptive technology that is here to stay, and it will nibble, or maybe even someday gobble, away at the customer base of big and pricey commercial software companies.

The forum, the first of its kind in Germany, took place earlier this week in Potsdam, near Berlin. It was hosted by the Hasso Plattner Institute for Software Systems Engineering, IBM and Deutsche Telekom. Hasso Plattner became a billionaire selling commercial software at SAP, a company he cofounded.

Among the ventures was XenSource...

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