Jimmy Nicholls speaks to the CTO of the Swedish online ticketing firm about open source technology.
Transticket provides the ticketing and commerce platforms used by Sweden’s biggest sporting and entertainment events such as the ATP Tennis Tour, the Swedish Hockey League and SkyView, the rail system taking visitors to the top of Ericsson Globe in Stockholm, the world’s largest spherical building.
When Transticket was founded in 2005, online commerce was not mature and customers were just starting to use websites as a way to buy tickets for special events. Market demands and increased competition over the past five years have had a big effect on Transticket’s business model and the technology it needs to stay ahead.
Here, Jimmy Nicholls speaks with Ulf Lundgren, chief technology officer at Transticket, about how open source has impacted Transticket’s business.
1. How important is the open source concept to what your company does?
Open source solutions have always been important in some way or other through the years for Transticket both in projects and products. It is available to solve real problems, but also as a way to think about developing the business.
2. What are its advantages and disadvantages compared with closed source?
The open source community behind the products and services is the real benefit. The disadvantage of closed source is that the support infrastructure and community is also a bit ‘closed’ as the information is gated and experts are hard to reach. Often when looking at open source projects, there is a transparency in how to get and provide feedback, get in contact with other users and so on.
3. Are there any communities built around open source you particularly admire?
None particularly, but, of course, the Apache Software Foundation has to be mentioned whenever talking about open source. The MariaDB community is also one to watch out for as there have been large moves made recently by enterprises to the database.
4. What future projects at your firm would consider using open source for?
Open source is always an option to us, and with my background, coming from working exclusively in open source environments to now managing a Microsoft-heavy business, I feel that we are well equipped to pick and choose from both open source and proprietary vendors to create the best business value for our customers.
For example, we are currently looking at implementing an open source load balancer as a replacement for our current commercial, closed source, http load balancer. This is mainly due to lack of useful support and training, which has prohibited us from providing certain solutions to our customers.
We have always looked for open frameworks for us to use in our development; it just seemed to fit us better than the other options. My guess is as our business continues to grow, it will do so with the help of open source software, projects, solutions and the community surrounding it.
5. How would you rate the future prospects of open source technology?
I think that open source technology has a bright future as more and more people realise the true value of a service. That value is not in the products anymore, but rather in what vendors can provide in terms of services, knowledge and manpower. Also, we feel it is more fun and more rewarding when you have the power to choose freely how to work and what tools to use to reach your goal. This isn’t always an option in a closed source environment.