Enterprise Resource Planning
Open Source is a software movement where developers regain the costs of creating a software product through alternate revenue streams to the traditional proprietary software approach. The added costs of creating a proprietary niche include the use of dongles and complex activation code schemas that are abandoned by using the open source model. Revenues are typically found in annual support agreements and consulting fees instead of attempting to control the installation with added levels of complexity that are needed to achieve the standard proprietary approach.
Linux is a fundamental building block of much of the open source movement. Started by Linus Torvalds, popular Linux variants include Ubuntu, Debian and Gentoo, however commercial Linux and Unix probably are more likely to be based on Solaris, Redhat or SUSE from Novell. Consulting and support agreements with Novell, Redhat and Oracle involve investments that rival but fall short of the costs of commercial server solutions like Microsoft’s Windows Server but their stability and usability for the professionals well indoctrinated in the use of Bash, Cron and ssh are paramount.
Use of a solid Linux foundation is also available as a service by such large players in the rental server market like Amazon.com and Rackspace. Database layers like MySQL and PostgresSQL are widely supported and offer an alternative to the expensive Oracle and SQL server layers, and are more than adequate for databases of less than 10 gigabytes which is sufficient for most SMB applications.