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Open source and SMBs: Answers

Open source tools have become popular with SMBs, thanks to their price and security. But what do you really know about the technology? Find out with our quiz!

Open source software and tools are catching on with small and medium-sized businesses, thanks to its affordability and security. But how much do you know about the open source movement? Find out with the answers to this month's quiz!

1. In September, Stamford, Conn.-based Gartner Inc. predicted that by 2011, what percentage of commercial software will contain at least some open source code?

Answer: b. 80%

2. IBM recently announced that it will contribute code to what project?

Answer: c. OpenOffice

MORE INFO: IBM has been a proponent of open source initiatives for years -- supporting and contributing to the OpenDocument Format, the open file format developed by OpenOffice, and even incorporating OpenOffice code into its own Workplace software back in 2005. But it didn't agree to join OpenOffice until September.

"IBM is very pleased to be joining the community. We are very optimistic that IBM's contribution of technology and engineering resources will provide tangible benefits to the community membership and to users of technology around the world," said Mike Rhodin, general manager of IBM's Lotus division, in a statement.

3. Andreas Antonopoulos, senior vice president and founding partner of The Nemertes Research Group Inc. in Mokena, Ill., has advice for CIOs who are considering making the switch to Linux. He says they should carefully evaluate business processes and:

Answer: c. supporting applications, products and services

MORE INFO: Antonopoulos also suggests that CIOs "plan out a migration strategy that fulfills the needs you have today and supports the growth you will have tomorrow from a business perspective."

4. What items verify that an open source software download is whole and complete?

Answer: a. MD5 hashes or GNU Privacy Guard signatures

MORE INFO: Joel Dubin recommends that IT professionals check for MD5 hashes or GNU Privacy Guard signatures in order to verify the integrity of open source software before it's installed. If the software doesn't pass an integrity check and needs to be downloaded again, this should be noted in a log, too.

5. Companies considering open source software (OSS) for Web design projects should keep in mind that although it may be free, they'll still have to pay for development and support, writes Herman Mehling. They should weigh those costs against the cost of what?

Answer: a. license fees

MORE INFO: Reliability and compatibility of open source software should be considered when considering OSS for a Web site design project. When weighing the costs of development and support of OSS, however, a company can compare that with how much license fees would cost for proprietary software.

6. According to Framingham, Mass.-based research firm IDC, open source software brought in how much money in 2006?

Answer: b. $1.8 billion

7. IDC has predicted that predicted that the open source software market would reach how much in 2011?

Answer: c. $5.8 billion

8. Bill Crowell, the former CIO of the Oregon Department of Human Services, said governance of open source technology is "absolutely critical." As an example, he cited one of his peers, a CIO of a transportation agency, who found how many instances of open source in use after an inventory of open source technology in his organization?

Answer: a. 5,000

MORE INFO: Crowell's peer found 5,000 instances of open source in use -- and that was based on a scan of 10-15 known pieces of open source technology identified by researchers as having arrived in enterprises.

9. When was OpenOffice launched?

Answer: b. 2000

MORE INFO: Started by Sun Microsystems Inc. in 2000, OpenOffice is an open source office suite that backers hope will one day knock the ever-present and proprietary Microsoft Office from its lofty perch.

10. Why are Linux systems are more secure than Windows clients?

Answer: c. Linux can be set up in a simpler configuration, and because there's a wide variety of Linux versions.

MORE INFO: James M. Connolly writes that the security of Linux systems is one reason to consider switching to a Linux desktop. The wide variety of Linux versions makes it harder for virus writers to target specific systems, explained Richard Giroux, IT manager at Whitelaw Twining Law Corp. In addition, Linux can be set up in a simpler configuration, running on a basic hardware platform with a low-end processor, minimal memory and a basic graphics card.

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