Open-Source Technology in Digital Signage
In the last ten years, Open Source Software (OSS), sometimes known as “Free and Open Source Software” (FOSS) has become a major force and enabler in the technology world. This truly disruptive “community-built” technology includes Linux (a free operating system) as well as many applications.
It is a mistake to assume that the OSS software world is an unregulated, unlicensed free-for-all. With considerable foresight, early pioneers such as Richard Stallman foresaw the need for keeping source code free, and they realised that (especially in a litigious society such as the USA) this would need a legal framework. They therefore designed a compulsory license for OSS: the General Public License (GPL).
OSS delivers a powerful set of benefits to companies like EnQii:
* Freedom to innovate. With OSS software, you own what the computer does. You can look at it in detail (in the source code); you can change everything, add, fix bugs, pay others to add or change: the possibilities are endless. For non-free software, the opposite is the case. At best you can use APIs, but these APIs are not often available, and if they are, they are limited.
* Freedom from vendor lock-in. Use non-free software, and you open ourselves to increased risk. For example, if a company whose software you license decides to start charging a $1,000 per player license fee for Digital Signage, or to outlaw Digital Signage support altogether, there is nothing you can do. If an obscure but significant problem with Windows affects you, you just have to wait for the next version, even if this takes three years to arrive.