EEI Corporation, one of the Philippines' leading construction companies, has opted to shift to Linux for their operating system (OS), joining several other industry giants in the country who have already turned to open source.
The firm initially used proprietary systems for both OS platforms and various application packages utilized in its operations. However, due to increasing costs of licensing, the company started considering open source applications in order to minimize expenses.
“Other concerns, such as virus infection and the increasing cost of hardware also became factors as to why we decided to use Linux,” said Mr. Andy S. Sarmiento, assistant vice president for the MIS department.
EEI Corporation is only one of several industry giants in the Philippines which are already using Linux and open source software. Other firms include Jollibee Foods Corporation, Mercury Drug Corporation, International Family Foods Services (Shakey’s) and Nippon Paint Philippines Inc. Several schools, notably the University of the Philippines, are also making use of open source in place of proprietary systems.
To ensure smooth transition with no major disruptions on daily operations, EEI sought the expertise of local Linux solutions provider IPSYSTEMS, Inc. (ipsystems.ph)
“As one of the country’s leading enterprise, EEI needed a system which it could trust to be stable and scalable. We therefore transformed the company’s enterprise level systems to make use of Linux as their operating system. At the same time, we introduced making use of several other software and applications also based on open source,” said Mr. Carlo Celis, systems administrator of IPSYSTEMS.
Free and open source software (FOSS) is called such because its source code is made freely available for modification and redistribution by anyone – thus the term “free” software. An example of such free software is Linux, which is an open-source operating system and is one of the alternatives to the Windows operating system. Linux is distributed under the GNU General Public License which guarantees the freedom to distribute copies of free software.
This freedom allows for the software’s cost-effectiveness, as compared to proprietary ones. For example, commercial software licenses such as Microsoft Exchange 2003 server today have an initial cost of around Php 69,000.00 (approximately USD 1,600.00). This price allows up to five licensed computers to connect to the server, while additional computers will need additional licenses (called Client Access License or CAL) to be legally connected to the server. This price also only covers the initial software license cost, and does not include the cost for the hardware or its yearly license maintenance.
The cost of having a file server system based on Linux, on the other hand, will cost only a one-time payment of roughly Php 25,000.00 (about USD 580.00), with no other recurring costs for CALs or for license renewals.
Since turning to Linux, EEI has experienced improved performance due to the system's increased stability. “Linux has proven itself to be a fast, reliable and stable operating system. The shift has also required our systems to consume fewer resources and much cheaper licensing costs,” said Mr. Sarmiento.