Open Source Not For Financial Institutions? Bah Humbug
I don't know how many of you have been following the Sergey Aleynikov-Goldman Sachs theft case. Aleynikov was arrested and charged with stealing the source code to Goldman Sachs' trading program. The prosecution claims he was going to use the code for his new employer. At trial it came out that most of the code Aleynikov stole was in fact open source code. Oops, there it is! The mighty Goldman Sachs is relying on open source code for its high frequency trading programs.
Putting aside the question of whether someone can "steal open source code", the fact that Goldman was even using open source code raised a lot of eyebrows. For many years the financial industry was seen as the last bastion resisting the open source barbarian onslaught. It was thought that open source was not secure enough, there was no accountability, it didn't give one institution and inherent advantage over another. But now it appears that Goldman is not the only one that uses open source on Wall Street and at other financial institutions.
While the financial meltdown shrinking IT budgets is an obvious reason for an increased open source emphasis (as this article points out), open source has been sneaking into the banking sector for longer than that.
One of the more interesting revelations to come out from the (imminently decided upon) Sergey Aleynikov trial is that Goldman Sachs' code may not even have been worth stealing.
Benjamin Goldberg, an associate professor in New York University's computer science department, testified that the code Aleynikov took contained "lots of open source software".
The use of open source technology within the investment banking industry is more common than you'd think.