Startups today are leveraging open source software to reduce their operating costs and provide more efficient workflows for their employees. No Web company would consider building their flagship application on a server other than Apache, or a platform other than Linux and probably the entire LAMP stack.
But that's not news! Cutting edge users today are implementing FOSS on the desktop and replacing discreet document workflows with wikis and open source enterprise CMS tools like Alfresco.
Last week, I was in Barcelona, Spain, at the annual OpenOffice.org Conference, learning how OOo can be the bridge between document-centric workflows and page-centric, online workflows. In fact, one developer has built an OpenOffice.org Extension tying it to Alfresco with this precise purpose in mind.
Internet-based products are a new paradigm, requiring customers to shift the way they think about interacting with media, purchasing products, and communicating with friends and family. In the same way, the producers of these new products create them in different ways -- less tangible but faster and more flexible -- than those that have been used before.
SharedBook's internal work processes move ever closer to this online ideal. We use TWiki as our intranet collaboration tool to manage internal communications, software specifications, and business processes. We have numerous Mac and desktop Linux users among our design and tech people, and we are heavily dependent on open source desktop applications including Firefox, Thunderbird, OpenOffice.org, Aptana, GIMP, Pidgin and many others. In short, SharedBook relies on open source software to operate. Without the innovative new workflow opportunities FOSS has given us, we couldn't operate as quickly or as nimbly in the highly competitive marketplace in which we compete. It's a fact of life that, in the tech world, you need to leverage open source to keep up with your competitors that already do.