March 26, 2001

Open source proves winning ticket for sports business

Author: JT Smith

Russ Foster writes, "Call him a player, a gambler, a true risk taker, but he's not a fool. Ron Lazarus, chief operating officer at Woodland Hills, California-based Just Sports placed a bet that could cost him thousands of dollars when he approved the use of open source applications and tools to create his company's new transactional database management system. But it would
prove one of the smartest business decisions he's ever made. In addition to saving money by using a database powered by PostgreSQL (popularly known as Postgres) and Apache
servers running on a Linux operating system, Just Sports USA created a powerful open source infrastructure that is customisable to meet the company's evolving needs.

At first, the prospect of using a free, open source database application called PostgreSQL that they'd never heard of confused Just Sports USA. That's not an uncommon reaction among corporations. The "free for all" mentality of the open-source community flies in the face of most business models. When most businesses learn that PostgreSQL developers enhance and de-bug the program as part of an ongoing volunteer collaborative effort, and that no one actually owns the software, they usually shake their heads and ask, "Why would anyone in their right mind do that?"

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