I ran into PHP consultant, Lorna Jane Mitchell at DrupalCon/Symfony Live Portland this May. She and I had a great talk about PHP for building secure, modular, high availability applications in the enterprise; where newer versions of PHP (5.3, 5.4, 5.5 ...) are headed; and the business value inherent in open source software.
This conversation was the seed for Lorna's Acquia.com guest blog post, "The Future of PHP is ... Here Already", which compliments this podcast perfectly!
Open Source Cost Efficiencies
"I don't think open source is well-understood by business yet, but people know the products. They're starting to see that the products are of good quality, there's zero cost of [acquisition]*, and they can very easily move between different consultants (like me) to work on their systems. I always just tell them, if I turn out to be rubbish, they choose someone else next time. There's no lock-in. For a business owner, it's a very sound decision to make."
*To clarify: Lorna says "zero cost of ownership" in the interview, but that's not quite right and belies the amazing advantages businesses get from adopting open source software. Every IT project has costs associated with it: hosting, bandwidth, design, etc. Open source software does come with a zero price tag and the Four Freedoms (you are free to use, study, modify, and distribute open source software) – these freedoms are the real killer app for open source.
Only scratching the surface of the value you get from all this; you have the freedom to own the software forever, and use it for any purpose. This (just download it and try it out) and the freedom from lock-in Lorna mentions both reduce the cost of risk, cost of ownership, and improve ROI. The zero price tag also lets you build better projects for the same price than you could with proprietary software: you can put the money you'd have spent on (recurring) license fees into more and better features, rather than sending it out of your organization.