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Bootstrapping Using Free Software


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why startups should use open source software. presented at startup camp kl 2008, to a lively discussion

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Bootstrapping Using Free Software

  1. 1. Bootstrapping using free software StartupCampKL November 2008 A discussion on starting up, cheaply Colin Charles
  2. 2. Free software? Free as in bebas Not free as in percuma
  3. 3. Freedoms Run the software Study the software & change it accordingly Redistribute copies to others Modify, then release, so no one has to do things twice
  4. 4. Open Source? Open source is a development method for software that harnesses the power of distributed peer review and transparency of process. The promise of open source is better quality, higher reliability, more flexibility, lower cost, and an end to predatory vendor lock-in. From
  5. 5. The open source model Spend money to save time Spend time to save money 5
  6. 6. What do you require? ● Technology business? ● Media business? ● Front office? ● Advertising business? ● Specialised engineering business? 6
  7. 7. Media 1999: Mandrake,, Mozilla (exception of one Mac machine, for DTP use) 7
  8. 8. Media 2008: Ubuntu,, Firefox, Thunderbird (okay, Google Docs/Mail is crucial... and there's still one Mac for DTP use) 8
  9. 9. Technology Is there a reason you are not leveraging on the use of open source? There is no excuse. 9
  10. 10. Venture backed startups I've received funding... now what next? 10
  11. 11. I have money to hire 5 staff Kick ass programmers? Maybe three, if you're lucky/smart Progress in twelve months 11
  12. 12. Do I base my architecture on... ASP.NET/MS SQL/IIS/Windows Server? OR PHP/MySQL/Apache/Linux? (yes, yes, Python, Perl, Ruby, PostgreSQL, OpenSolaris, FreeBSD, and others do make sense too :) ) 12
  13. 13. Software licenses There is zero cost, when using open source software When you are profitable and need support, consulting, training, et al, you can go back to a service provider to help you solve your problems 13
  14. 14. Examples... Linux ... Red Hat, Novell, Ubuntu MySQL ... Sun JBoss ... Red Hat ... Sun And don't forget your local SI's, etc... 14
  15. 15. What about community supported stuff? Debian? FreeBSD? PostgreSQL? Trust your local partners! The choice is yours 15
  16. 16. So, back to I have 5 staff to hire 3 kick ass programmers will write more code, in a quicker time, if they leverage open source 16
  17. 17. Why? Rewrite yet another CMS? Rewrite yet another wiki? Rewrite yet another VoIP system? Rewrite yet another e-commerce system? Rewrite yet another ... ? 17
  18. 18. Reuse Just build it on other people's work 18
  19. 19. License Proliferation Be aware, the many different licenses out there. Knowing when to mix and match, is as simple as reading the license Mixing with proprietary software? Look for BSD/Apache licenses LGPL ensures that when incorporated into your software, the license itself doesn't “leak” into it 19
  20. 20. Front office stuff Web browser ... Firefox Email client ... Thunderbird Office suite ... Accounting package ... GNUCash Graphics manipulation ... The GIMP 20
  21. 21. Vendor lock-in ... is bad “... provides Malaysian SMEs with cost-effective and affordable options to purchase IT at only RM188 per month” 21
  22. 22. Open Standards Today, if you don't have open APIs, your product is probably dead in the water Malaysian web properties lack open APIs – start now! 22
  23. 23. When is free software, maybe, incorrect? Specialised uses, where today, there only exists software for proprietary platforms Architects depend on AutoCAD 23
  24. 24. Bootstrapping in the Web 2.0 world Guy Kawasaki Truemors “Life is also good because of open source and Wordpress.” 7.5 weeks from domain registration to launch About USD$12k, only USD$4.5k spent on software development 24
  25. 25. More bootstrapping Mark Zuckerberg “Going from a university dorm room to a company that has more than 1800 servers running MySQL is something that we think is pretty exciting,” Urlocker said. “It just goes to show you that a student with a good idea can go a long way.” 25
  26. 26. Bootstrapping yet again YouTube Google AdSense ( Yahoo! Flickr 26
  27. 27. SeedCamp 27
  28. 28. VCs? If you're investing in a company, or handing them grants, they better not be building their software on a proprietary platform 28
  29. 29. What about the cloud? Google Apps for your Domain 29
  30. 30. Thank free software The world as you know it, today, would not be the same, had it not been for open source software A UNIX variant powers most servers... languages like Perl/PHP/etc. are the glue... Apache, MySQL, etc. are the infrastructure 30
  31. 31. Thanks Colin Charles 31