A recent news story published by the Bloomberg Businessweek claimed that an Ex-Goldman Sachs programmer was found guilty of stealing certain source codes to use it for his new employer’s benefit. During the trial an argument put across by the defendant was that most of the codes that he stole were open source in nature. But the matter that caught most people’s attention was the fact that a financial institution like Goldman Sachs is also one amongst a plethora of open source code users.
The event that needs to be focused on is not the former Goldman employee’s stealing habits or the answer to the question on whether it is ok to steal open source code. The astounding news item here is that Goldman is also using open source code which obviously has raised quite a few eyebrows. The reason why I say this is because it is known for a long time now that financial institutions are laggards when it comes to using open source codes due to apparent reasons related to security issues, no accountability, it didn’t give one institution and inherent advantage over another.
It can also be understood that it is not just Goldman which is the only financial institution using open source. The recent period of recession has caused quite a bit of damage to the IT budgets of several corporate organizations and majorly the banking and financial sector, thus forcing them to cut costs.
In view of this objective, financial institutions have taken to open source usage be it Linux, Apache or MySQL. Let me assure you that there is nothing wrong in financial firms using open source, however they are better off sticking to proprietary software systems that guarantee benefits like security, accountability, etc.
In verity many security appliances that are protecting these banks use open source technologies and the end user license agreements dealt with detailing the open source contained on these appliances and warranties that it was used pursuant to license. In addition to this, these firms also built and developed on these open source software and fabricated their own in-house applications. Recession is long gone, albeit the banking sector it seems, has dicovered a new find in open source for the purpose of manufacturing better banking and financial software applications.
Though there was not much noise made about it, the truth remains that financial institutions just like the IT companies have slowly but steadily opened up to the open source fraternity and continue using them for a long time. Sergey Aleynikov, the apparent news making ex-employee of Goldma Sachs, however did not gain any respite as he received punishment of jail-time since not all of the codes that he stole were open source. In the meanwhile, this latest news development has brought into the open that ‘Open Source is not Closed for anyone’.