May 2, 2007

Open Source "Increasingly Used for Critical Applications"

The market research company Forrester has just issued a report saying (among many other things) that more than 75% of respondents "agreed that open source software was making an important or very important contribution to improving efficiency and concolidating IT infrastructure". Other highlights include the fact that concerns about intellectual property are fading (presumably as SCO's cases are seen more and more clearly to be the FUD of a desperate last-ditch bid for survival).

The closing advice for would-be adopters comes in two major chunks:

1. Lower Internal barriers to Open Source Adoption - clearly it's time for policies to be refined to give open source a level playing field against proprietary products; some organizations still have blanket bans on the evaluation, let alone use, of open source.

2. Identify Services Before You Commit - many corporate users appear to be concerned that appropriate support services don't exist for open source products. While this isn't universally true, the open source communities equally need to acknowledge that corporate users might not feel completely comfortable relying solely on volunteer newsgroups for support.

It would be good to start building international federations that can collectively offer 24/7 support for open source projects, with specified service levels. That's going to be a challenge for the open sourcerers, but if they can solve it then they might even manage to get on the gravy train before it leaves the station. While this may not be everyone's dream it would be nice to channel funds in directions that allow (or even encourage) the development more and better open source software.

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