Open Source in use in business: case studies and building a business around Open Source

NMI/BCS Open Source SG Conference – London 10/5/2016

In partnership with the BCS OSSG and BCS OSHUG, this conference explores the increasingly vital role of Open Source as an enabler in the world of electronic systems. It will provide attendees with an informative view of:

  • The benefits and challenges of using open-source
  • Leading electronic systems organisation using open-source today sharing their experience
  • The breadth of opportunities presented by open-source, from application software down to silicon IP
  • Open-source capabilities from a range of leading suppliers

The event will be held on Tuesday 10th May at BCS HQ – 1st Floor, The Davidson Building, 5 Southampton Street, London, WC2E 7HA, [map] from 6:00pm to 9:00pm.

Note: Please aim to arrive by 9:15am as the event will start at 9:30 prompt.

This event is free to attend for both BCS Members and non-members but booking is required. Places are limited; please book as soon as possible.

Meet the Supplier Pitches

Provider of Open Source solutions or services? Give a 2 minute pitch!

Session 1: Challenges & Opportunities

Open Source: The Enabler for IoT Greatness (and Mediocrity)

Strip the layers of marketing fluff on the shiny new Internet of Things devices and you will find, in almost all cases, a slew of great Open Source projects powering these little gadgets, to perform their intended duties. Go up a layer and guess what — the cloud is full of Open Source too!

This talks uses IoT as a case study in explaining how Open-Source makes rapid iterations and complex interconnected things happen very quickly. While this all sounds great, we will also look at how certain approaches in “openness” actually cause more problems than they solve especially when it comes to interoperability between ecosystems.

Omer Kilic is an Embedded Systems Engineer who enjoys working with small computers of all shapes and sizes. He works at the various intersections of hardware and software engineering practices, product development and manufacturing. He is the Chief Hacker at Den Automation, an Internet of Things hardware startup in London.

Sailing the open seas

Deciding to operate a business with an ‘Open Source’ mindset, and looking beyond “why would you give everything away for free?”, there are interesting business models to be had. Those invariably come with challenges, but also have the benefits that are derived from maintaining a culture of openness. Boldport is a small business that open sourced their primary internal software tool, PCBmodE, and who releases all their hardware designs as ‘Open Source hardware’. We’ll discuss where ‘openness’ is challenging and where it has created opportunities, all with a hardware perspective.

Saar Drimer combines his obsessive doodling, love for circuit design, programming, and problem solving into Boldport’s products and services. As an engineer he’s learned to appreciate the value of adopting industrial design thinking and making it an integral part of his design process. He studied electrical engineering at UC Santa Cruz, and researched the topic of hardware security for his PhD at the Computer Lab, University of Cambridge.

Session 2: Practical Solutions

Red, Amber, Green: Free and Open-Source Software in the Supply Chain – When to Avoid, Tread Carefully and Embrace

Almost all software projects have an aspect of Open Source: and for very good reason. With reference to client case studies, Andrew considers how to maximise the utility of Open Source code, both in terms of the code itself, and engaging with the communities around it, and mitigating risk throughout the supply chain.

Andrew Katz is a UK-based lawyer specialising in FOSS and open content.

Prior to becoming a lawyer, Andrew Katz was a developer and has released software under the GPL. He advises individuals, corporations, foundations and public sector organisations on FOSS law issues, and is a visiting researcher at the University of Skövde, Sweden, and visiting lecturer at Queen Mary, University of London. He is a founder editor of the Free and Open Source Software Law Review.


Hackerspace/makerspace/fablab panel discussion – London 16/04/2015

HackspaceThe BCS OSSG and the OSHUG are hosting a panel discussion which will explore the organisation, operation, challenges and benefits of creative spaces known as hackerspaces, makerspaces and fablabs.

There will be representatives from Makespace Cambridge, South London Makerspace, So Make It (Southampton), Fab Lab London, London Hackspace and the UK’s innovation agency, Innovate UK.

The event will be held on Thursday 16th April at BCS HQ – 5 Southampton Street, London, WC2E 7HA from 6:00pm to 8:00pm.

This event is free to attend for both BCS Members and non-members but booking is required.


Open Source in Business – Sheffield 22/01/2015 1

The Open Source Specialist Group, in association with Sheffielf Hallam University are hosting a series of talks on Open Source in Business.

The event will be held at Sheffield Hallam University, Owen Building, 1028 Lecture Theatre, City Campus, Howard Street, Sheffield, S1 1WB from 5:30 pm.

This event is free to attend for both BCS Members and non-members but booking is required.

A series of talks that explore different aspects of Open Souce in commercial contexts, including crowdfunding an open hardware microenterprise, navigating licensing issues and trade associations.


Where’s the Money in Open Source? – Cambridge 10/07/2014

Cambridge WirelessOpen source is a growing and arguably successful strategy for making our corner of the world a better place. While altruism motivates many individuals and some companies to make things open source, others are in it for the money. On the other hand, many companies use or are forced to use, open source for its perceived cost-saving value, often disregarding its risks. So what’s the business case for open source?

Covering multi-faceted aspects of the topic, this half day event will explore the challenges and the opportunities in making money out of open source, and the various business models used. It will help those considering developing open source to understand where the value is and look at what the future might bring.

This gripping event will tackle the most pressing issues in open source today by discussing the following angles:

  • If you don’t sell the software, what can you sell? Or is it just PR and marketing?
  • Can you cash in on a reputation made in the open source world?
  • What is the price of open source?
  • Is Bitcoin the way to literally make money from open source?
  • Are there indirect benefits from developing open source, and if so, what are they?


Open Source in Telecommunications – London 22/04/10 1

The telecommunications industry has a deep and complex history, where proprietary technologies have featured heavily, the barrier to entry has typically been high and the majority of research and development led by incumbent network operators and equipment providers. More recently we are seeing this change with the growing popularity of IP telephony, the availability of open source softswitch implementations and the aggressive adoption of Linux in mobile handsets, home router/gateways and other customer-premises equipment (CPE). However, whilst the opportunities are significant, many challenges to open source adoption remain and the telecoms environment presents its own set of unique problems.

The BCS Open Source Specialist Group has joined forces with BT to bring an event that seeks to provide insights into the state of the art of open source in telecommunications. The event will consist of a series of talks followed by a panel-led, open discussion centred upon the opportunities that exist and the challenges that the telecommunications industry and open source community faces.

The event will be held at the BCS Central London Offices, First Floor, The Davidson Building, 5 Southampton Street, London WC2E 7HA ( on Thursday 22nd April, 2010, from 10.00 to 17.30.

To book a place at this event, which is free and open to all, please contact Mark Elkins via


10:00 Introduction

10:15 Why would BT care about Open Source? Jeremy Ruston (BT)

With organisations the size of the BT, you frequently hear announcements that they have partnered with a vendor or done a major deal with a service provider. Large figures are often mentioned – such as the size of a market, the number of users involved or simply the value of a contract. But what about software that is developed by communities of interest, where no vendor may be involved and no money changing hands?

In this presentation Jeremy Ruston will explain what open source means to BT and what drove them to acquire Osmosoft, a small software development company focused on producing open source, web-based collaboration technology. Reflecting on three years as BT’s Head of Open Source Innovation, he will provide an insight into the evolving technology landscape at BT, and outline the key role that open source software has to play in BT’s future.

10:45 Vyatta – open source, software-based enterprise-class IP routing. Ben King (Net That Works)

  • Why Vyatta?
  • Vyatta vs. Cisco – A real world comparison
  • Vyatta – Too big to be small, too small to be big?
  • Vyatta – What are the limits?

11:15 Break

11:30 But you can’t get support for Open Source, can you? Mark Taylor (Sirius)

One of the favourite anti-Open Source myths of proprietary software companies is that Open Source is unsupported and that there’s nobody to turn to for your organisations needs. Mark’s talk will reveal this FUD (‘Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt’) as the nonsense that it is, and show exactly how organisations using Open Source, the support ecosystem, and the underlying projects themselves interact to provide a level of support for Open Source software in the enterprise that simply can’t be matched by the old-school proprietary software vendors.

Using detailed case studies, anecdotes and over a decades experience on the front-lines of Open Source uptake, this talk will give you the information you need to know to confidently deploy enterprise-class Open Source in your own organisation.

12:00 Open Source in Mobile. Andrew Savory (LiMo Foundation)

The LiMo Foundation are building a mobile middleware stack based on Linux. With over 70% of the platform based on open source components, what are the benefits and challenges of open source adoption, and what is the LiMo approach to working with Open Source?

12:30 Open Source, Standards and Standardisation. Paul Downey (BT)

Building on a previous, deliberately provocative talk on “Standards are Peace as Standardization is to War”[1] and an address on Web 2.0 given to the ETSI Board[2] Paul will present a short guide for

assessing the likely impact of the culture of Open Source and lightweight agreements made on The Web on the formal Telecoms standards and standardization process.



13:00 Lunch

13:45 Ensuring Mobile Internet Connectivity at T-Mobile with Nagios. Bernd Erk (Netways)

Since 2003, T-Mobile has employed open source software alongside the traditional close source products. For the last few years, NETWAYS has supported T-Mobile in the deployment and scaling of their Nagios system. Over this period, not only was the in-house company network integrated into the system, but also the international data roaming on GSM networks was established and continuously expanded. This presentation will share the development of T-Mobile’s open source monitoring system to monitor its entire GSM network and data transfer (roaming) to ensure the highest availability of over 450 foreign GSM networks.

14:15 Asterisk. Antony Stone (Sirius)

Asterisk is an Open Source computer-based telephony project which enables the creation of software-based PABX systems, VoIP gateways, call centres and many other computer-telephony integrated applications.  The software supports interfaces to both analogue and digital telephones and exchange lines, and provides features such as intelligent routing, call queuing, music on hold, conference calling and voicemail.  Plugin applications provide integration with standard database servers, corporate directory servers, text-to-speech and voice recognition systems.  Asterisk enables commodity PC hardware to be used for multi-user multi-site voice communications, including connectivity to legacy telephone systems such as analogue phone lines and ISDN.

14:45 Building a GSM Network with OpenBTS. Tim Panton (Westhawk)

OpenBTS is an open-source Unix application that uses the Universal Software Radio Peripheral (USRP) to present a GSM air interface (“Um”) to standard GSM handset and uses the Asterisk software PBX to connect calls. The combination of the ubiquitous GSM air interface with VoIP backhaul forms the basis of a new type of mobile network that can be deployed and operated at substantially lower cost than existing technologies in greenfields in the developing world.

In plain language, OpenBTS lets you create new kind of mobile network that can be installed and operated at about 1/10 the cost of current technologies, but that will still be compatible with most of the handsets that are already in the market. This technology can also be used in private network applications (wireless PBX, rapid deployment, etc.) at much lower cost and complexity than conventional mobile.

This talk will cover the experience and lessons learnt from a recent trial deployment on the pacific island of Niue.

15:15 Break

15:30 PostgreSQL in Telecommunications. Simon Riggs (2ndQuadrant)

PostgreSQL has a variety of features of interest to Telco users. Many well known companies are already users and a brief review of deployed solutions gives a flavour of that. Enhancements in PostgreSQL 9.0 due out in mid-2010 will also be discussed, plus further developments in later releases.

16:00 OpenNMS and the Telemanagement Forum Standardisation Activities. Dr Craig Gallen (OpenNMS)

OpenNMS is the worlds first enterprise grade Open Source Network Management platform. Unlike other Open source Network Management tools, OpenNMS has been designed specifically with the scalability and enterprise integration requirements of large telecommunications operators in mind. It and is being used in production by a number of large service providers.

In order to continue to address the requirements of the telecommunications industry, OpenNMS has been contributing to the TM Forum Interface Program which is standardizing the next generation of OSS interfaces. One of the most innovative aspects of the program is in its use of Open Source development techniques and technologies to increase the attractiveness of the new interfaces for early adopters. Open source is being used to create the core Interface Framework artefacts, Reference Implementations, Compatibility Test Kits and an Implementation library for prospective developers.

This talk will provide an introduction to the OpenNMS project and it’s contribution to industry standardisation through the TM Forum.

16:30 Panel. All speakers.

17:30 Close


Jeremy Ruston (BT)

Jeremy is the founder of Osmosoft and creator of TiddlyWiki, a popular open source wiki. He joined BT three years ago to lead its open source innovation activities, helping BT take advantage of the unique business opportunities offered by participation in open source communities.

Ben King (Net That Works & WarwickNet)

Ben King has over 10 years experience in Internet networking, he owns and runs two companies:

Net That Works: A network design and consultancy firm, that helps medium to large organisations design, optimise and maintain their layer 2 and 3 network architecture. Net That Works is Vyatta leading UK reseller and consultants.

WarwickNet: A UK tier 2 ISP that specialises in providing managed bandwidth solutions to managed service environments. WarwickNet use Vyatta for all core routing including BGP and OSPF.

Mark Taylor (Sirius)

Mark Taylor is a long time practitioner and advocate of Open Source in the Enterprise. As Chief Executive of Sirius, Mark’s record includes most of the significant deployments of Open Source Software in the UK, including Specsavers, the National Digital Resource Bank, and Yell Adwords to name but a few. Sirius is the first and only Open Source company to be government accredited, and runs the first Government Minister launched Open Source project; The National Digital Resource Bank. Mark is a well known writer and speaker on every aspect of the Open Source phenomenon, and has acted as an advisor on Open Source to all main UK political parties.

Andrew Savory (LiMo Foundation)

Andrew Savory is the Open Source Manager for LiMo Foundation, where he works to ensure understanding of and compliance to open source principles and to facilitate contributions back to open source communities. He has over a decade of firsthand insight of working with industry leaders using and engaging with open source. Andrew has worked with open source software starting with Linux in 1994 and founding the Linux user group ALUG (Anglian Linux User Group, shortly after. He was the founder of one of the earliest open source software solutions providers in the UK, Sourcesense (, and instrumental in the creation of the Association For Free Software, a UK offshoot of the Free Software Foundation. In 2003 he was a founder of the first open source business alliance, Orixo, ( An active contributor to the open source community, Andrew is a Member of the Apache Software Foundation.

Paul Downey (BT)

Paul is a developer at Osmosoft where along with contributing to a number of Open Source projects, notably TiddlyWiki, he represents BT at the W3C. He is mildly notorious for a series of Ãœber-doodles, known collectively as “The Web is Agreement” [1].


Bernd Erk (Netways)

Bernd Erk, Head of Operations, has overseen the Managed Services, Consulting and Development business areas at NETWAYS since 2007. Ensuring the success and smooth operation of all customer projects and business processes, Bernd’s technical expertise stretches across Systems Management, Managed Services and Software Development. A contributor to Linux Magazine and Linux Technical Review in Germany, Bernd regularly publishes articles and presents on open source topics ranging across Nagios monitoring, XEN virtualization, MySQL database monitoring and performance tuning among others. Bernd was previously Operating Systems Specialist at Quelle Schickedanz AG & Co., where he worked heavily with Solaris, HPUX and Oracle databases. After which, Bernd spent 8 years as Business Unit Manager at Ise-Informatik where he dealt with Oracle databases and service oriented architectures.

Antony Stone (Sirius)

Antony Stone has been a networking, security and applications engineer for twenty-five years, and has been working exclusively with Open Source systems since 1997.  He specialises in firewalls, VPNs and telephony implementations, and has worked with Asterisk for a variety of customers ranging from small telesales offices to multi-site international PLCs. He has a particular interest in computer telephony integration for applications such as remote access and control in the event of network connectivity failures. Antony has a Master’s degree from Royal Holloway, University of London, and has been teaching on the MSc course in Information Security since 2002.

Tim Panton (Westhawk)

Tim Panton has been a software developer for more than 25 years, working on a diverse range of projects, from chemical plant simulation to tourism web sites. He is also a contributor to open source projects, in particular GJTAPI a framework for implementing JTAPI (The Java Telephony

API) and Westhawk‘s Java SNMP stack. In recent years Tim has been predominantly involved in Asterisk development and implementation, working closely with key industry players he has been championing innovative integration of voice technologies.

Simon Riggs (2ndQuadrant)

Simon is a lead developer and advocate for the PostgreSQL project, an advanced open source RDBMS focused on reliability, performance and enterprise-class features. As a developer, Simon has contributed significant performance and high availability features to each of the last 6 major releases, with recognition as a Major Developer and code Committer. Simon’s role is Chief Technology Officer at 2ndQuadrant, a worldwide supplier of support, training and services for PostgreSQL and derivative solutions.

Dr Craig Gallen (OpenNMS)

Dr Craig Gallen MIET, C. Eng, has worked as an engineer in Broadcasting, Process Control and Network Management. Latterly he worked as a senior product manager with Nortel Networks before leaving to pursue his doctoral studies in open source operational support systems at the

University of Southampton. He currently works as an OSS software consultant and as a committer to the OpenNMS project. He is the leader of the TM Forum Interface Program Open Source Project hosted at

“Question Time” on Open Source – Bournemouth 17/03/10

In the style of the BBC program “Question Time”, join us for an evening of Q & A on Open Source software. BCS Dorset Branch welcomes the Open Source Specialist Group (OSSG) – for an entertaining evening debating this hot topic. Is Linux the answer to everything? Can Open Source software provide a real viable alternative in the business world?

A panel of “experts” will be available to answer your questions and adjudicating events will be the Dorset Branch Chair, Dr Andrew Main. If you have a question please submit this before the event to although, just like the real program, we will take some questions on the night.

Booking is required for this event – see Booking Form

Time – 7pm for 7:30pm start

Location – The Lees Lecture Theatre, Bournemouth University, Talbot Campus, Wallisdown Road, Poole – see location map


Terry Coles a leading contributor and member of the Dorset Linux Users Group (DLUG) who is also an Engineering Manager and Consultant for EADS Test Engineering Services (UK) (formerly Racal Instruments) at Ferndown, Dorset.

Peter Dawes-Huish, CEO for LinuxIT, has been part of CRN’s A-List for two years in a row and is a member of the Society of Industry Leaders (SIL). In 2006 LinuxIT was chosen ‘IT Services Supplier of the Year’ at the Computing Awards for Excellence. LinuxIT helps companies throughout Europe by delivering IT consulting, technology and support services through the integration of Open Source solutions.

Simon Gardner a Technology neutral software developer, based in Bournemouth, currently specialising in content management technologies. Experience of delivering web projects using both open and closed source tools.

Nigel Wright, Sales Director, Abtech UK , West Moors, Dorset. Abtech UK is a local integrator of Open Source solutions. Abtech UK work with key open source vendors such as Red Hat/JBoss, Zimbra, Ingress and Alfresco. Abtech UK has carried out quite a lot of research on open source solutions and has a good understanding of the sector. Nigel has a real life viewpoint of how open source is received by the public and private sector as well as giving examples of where it is working well. He is also a BCS Elite member.

The World of Ubuntu and Open Source – Leeds 20/10/09

Matthew Barker, Corporate Services, Canonical Ltd will give a talk for the Open Source Specialist Group (OSSG) and the BCS West Yorkshire Branch on Tuesday 20th October 2009 from 1830 hours at The Met Hotel, King Street, Leeds, LS1 2HQ.

As open-source software has grown in sophistication, it has quickly become a viable alternative to the major proprietary operating systems. This presentation will give an update on the current capabilities of open source along with an insight into future developments. Matthew will discuss the issues and myths around its use in commercial and public-sector organisations, whilst also providing pointers for personal use.

The talk will include:

  • Overview of Ubuntu
  • Usage in the contexts of: Commercial-enterprise, Public Sector, Personal
  • Open Source Applications
  • Open Source Capabilities
  • The road map

Matthew Barker joined Canonical in 2006, taking responsibility for the OEM channel in South Asia. Having successfully built partnerships with hardware manufacturers like HCL, Wipro and eSys, he moved into the Canonical Corporate Services Team in 2008 focussing on driving the adoption of Ubuntu in enterprise. He has overseen deployments with organisations like the NHS, York University and Handelsbanken. He has experience across all the significant vertical markets and of “the how and why” open source is being adopted.

Founded in late 2004, Canonical is the commercial sponsor of the Ubuntu project with the mission to help individuals and organisations take full advantage of open-source technologies by:

  • Delivering the world’s best free-software platform
  • Ensuring its availability to everyone
  • Supporting it with high-quality professional service offerings
  • Encouraging the continued growth and development of the free-software community

Canonical believes the open-source community creates better software. The community enables an increase development capacity many times over.

Ubuntu is a community-developed and supported project. Since its launch in October 2004, Ubuntu has become one of the most highly regarded Linux distributions with millions of users around the world. Every six months the world’s best free and open-source software is selected, tested, brought together, and made freely available on common technology platforms.

To book a place to attend this event please email your name to

Tea, Coffee, and Biscuits from 1745 hours

Discovering Open Source ERP (24th August 2009)

Objective: Introduce participants to Open Source ERP solutions, compare Open Source and Proprietary ERP, discover how to implement Open Source ERP, review case studies and learn how to evaluate ERP for your organisation.
Date: Monday, 24 August 2009 – 0930 – 1600 (lunch included)
Venue: British Computer Society, First Floor, The Davidson Building, 5 Southampton Street, London, WC2E 7HA
Cost: £65 Non Members, £55 Members


– What are the features that make an ERP?
– What is open source?
– Review of the leading open source ERP solutions
– Analysis of the ERP solution marketplace (open source & proprietary)
– What to look for in an open source ERP product
– Tour of an open source ERP
– Implementing open source ERP
– Managing ERP implementation
– Features of a typical open source ERP adopter
– Case studies
– ERP and the business eco-system
– Q&A
– Close

Presenter Profiles:

Michael Judd is an Accountant and has held roles such as European Financial Controller and Manager of Global Financial Systems in FTSE 100 businesses before entering consulting in 2002.  Michael has worked with Cable & Wireless, Barclays Bank, British Telecom and many medium sized organisations to deliver process efficiencies and better leverage ICT platforms. Michael is a specialist in designing & implementing business eco-systems based on open source platforms.  Michael is a Director of Akuna Ltd, a business consultancy leading the UK in leveraging professional open source technology.


Norbert Wessel is CEO of metas, Germanys leading ADempiere ERP Implementor and co-founder of the German ADempiere society where he serves the board. Norbert has presented at major events like Cebit, Linuxtag (Germany), OpenExpo (Switzerland), Profoss (Brussels) and others.


How to Join:

To join the conference or for more information please contact Michael Judd on 08444 84 3590 or via this form.