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Going From "Ow" To "Wow" In Open Source

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Venkat Mangudi, an open source evangelist and OSI Days speaker, recalls how his 10-year-old kid made him realise that Linux should be made compulsory in schools. He also explains how FOSS came to the rescue of small businesses, the new open technologies revolutionalising the world and how to overcome the 'Ow' of discomfort in open source to get a 'Wow' of admiration!

Please tell us a little about your tryst with Linux and open source.

I started using Linux more than a decade ago when it had serious teething issues. Since six years now, I have been evangelising open source and Linux. While working with apps in Europe and the US, I have always kept a lookout for open source alternatives and remained in tune with the FOSS world. When I was implementing PeopleSoft CRM for PeopleSoft and Oracle, I was aware of SugarCRM. Even in its early days, it was a reasonable contender for the commercial packages. Of course, it was fraught with issues and bugs then, nevertheless, it has grown now to be a major choice for users worldwide. Ever since I returned to India in 2006, I have been actively writing and speaking on FOSS as well as on implementing FOSS enterprise applications for small and medium businesses. The reason why I focussed on such businesses was that they lacked a good advisor when it came to technology and business. They cannot afford the big guns and the small players are often inexperienced except in their particular application to provide an unbiased recommendation. Working with enterprise application giants worldwide has taught me what enterprise applications should really be and how it could bring improvement for their organisations. However, at the same time, I am not an advocator of esoteric management theories like the theory of constraints or balanced scorecard because it simply doesn't make sense to think along those lines when there is an issue in basic processes.

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