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Open Source in Finance: Stock Exchanges Run on Linux

linux stock exchangeBesides their common daily handling of significant amounts of money, the New York Stock Exchange, New York Mercantile Exchange and NASDAQ have something else in common: All three exchanges now rely on Linux.

In the world of finance, milliseconds matter. There is significant money at stake when one firm is able to make a trade a split second before another firm. High-frequency trading refers to using sophisticated technologies to facilitate the fastest trades possible. Because Linux is known for its low transaction and networking latency, financiers are increasingly relying on the open source operating system to help accelerate the speed with which they trade.

Jim Zemlin, the executive director of the Linux Foundation, recently spoke at the Linux Enterprise End-User Summit, addressing several hundred Wall Street executives as well as Linux developers about what he predicts for the future of technology.

Open source will lead the way.

“Hardware functions are increasingly being abstracted into software,” Zemlin explained. “More and more specialist hardware has been replaced by open source software running on generic x86 boxes.”

On the software side of the coin, open source is leading the way, Zemlin continued, due to the fact that companies are able to develop products faster thanks to code sharing. This results in high-quality products that cost less to produce.

According to Gartner, when it comes to today’s software, 80 percent of the code used is open source, while companies tweak the final 20 percent to give their programs their own personalities. Because of this, “People now have full-time jobs managing their external open source resources,” Zemlin said.

He expects the trend of open source adoption to be even more pervasive in the future.

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More Stories By Lacey Thoms

Lacey Thoms is a marketing specialist and blogger at Protecode, a provider of open source license management solutions. During her time at Protecode, Lacey has written many articles on open source software management. She has a background in marketing communications, digital advertising, and web design and development. Lacey has a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications from Carleton University.