March 18, 2004

Open source opens doors

Software developed by programmers who share their work for free over the Internet used to be of interest mainly to computer geeks.

Now a growing number of large Bay Area companies use such open source software to run their most important business applications, according to
corporate IT buyers attending a first-of-its-kind conference in San Francisco.

As chief information officers switch to open source applications like those that run on the Linux operating system, they are saving time and money on
everything from hosting video games to selling health care services.

"We're saving hard dollars with open source," said Marc West, chief information officer of Redwood City game developer Electronic Arts Inc., which
expects sales to hit $2.9 billion for its fiscal year ending this month.

In some cases the cost savings are dramatic, West and others told attendees gathered at the Westin St. Francis Hotel for the Open Source Business
Conference 2004. The conference was partly sponsored by The Chronicle.



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