DESPITE having pockets of communities spread across the country, open source software (OSS) has no future in the country's budding software development business, according to a software development expert.

"The software development industry in the Philippines will always choose commercial applications over open source applications, unless the open source community comes around and becomes serious in turning open source software into a serious business," said Joey Gurango, CEO of software development firm Webworks OS.

Speaking during a seminar on commercial software development, Gurango explained that OSS had little or no global business ecosystem that would make it marketable to potential foreign clients.

There is also very little investment seen in OSS for software development compared to commercial software.

In addition, Gurango said potential clients know that using open source software is a risky proposition.

"The software development business has strict requirements, like the capacity of the company to deliver its goods on time, the security and stability of the product, as well as compliance to software standards," Gurango said.

Gurango's Webworks OS develops business applications for the banking industry using Microsoft.Net. A few years ago, Gurango headed another business software development firm called Great Plains, which was later acquired by Microsoft Inc. for one billion dollars.

On the other hand, Gurango said that open source software still has a small market, especially in the Philippines.

"Those that are looking for inexpensive alternatives to commercial software may opt to use OSS. On the other hand, there are limits to the software they are using," he said.

Gurango earlier made a forecast that the software development business in the Philippines could generate more revenues than the call center business. There are only about 100 such companies in the country targeting the billion-dollar business software market in the US.


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