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Yet another victory in the open source vs. all takers (well, one taker for sure) battle for world dominance--London's Oyster system is now Linux-powered. Oyster is a RFID (Radio frequency identification) card recognition and payment system for London's Tube (Subway) and bus network. The old system needed a serious upgrade mostly due to performance issues. The new system sports a combination of RedHat Enterprise Linux, Apache web server, and JBOSS.

The system isn't free of proprietary software though as it still uses Oracle for its database. MySQL or PostgreSQL could have been used to further drive down costs but would have required more development and consulting time. The new system has lowered costs due to licensing and hosting by over 80%. The first year's savings from the switch paid for the Deloitte and Touche development time.

The new site is faster and offers the added bonus of no downtime when new code is applied. The developers also used standard SQL for database queries so that the system would less proprietary allowing for a future move to an open source database.

The complaints of the old system and praises for the new are nothing extraordinary for those "in the know" on Linux and open source solutions. Over-priced, underperforming, proprietary systems are on their way out in favor of low-cost, open source, high performance solutions.

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