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Friday, June 02, 2006

Open Source : Too Risky & Long Time To Be Disruptive

While open-source software can deliver a low-cost business solution quickly, it was labeled too risky for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s new content management system. The article notes that in the case of ABC, Open source was considered for a CMS solution, but would have been a "high-risk strategy" because of the amount of development work required. Colin Knowles, the CIO says,"Our general view is we will acquire when we can, and we are quite happy to shift the work practices to fit the last 20 percent rather than build 80 or 100 percent with all the risks of that." Knowles said there are plenty of examples of organizations that started building their own applications and five years later "are still building." While conceding that the concepts of source code access and not being reliant on one vendor for support are valid, he adds, but a decision to deploy open source comes back to risk management. Is that all to assess for enbracing opensource -clearly lot more - he cautions that in addition to risk evaluation, IT managers should also consider whether they will be "any better off at the end of the day" and also from a maintenance standpoint examine answering the question -"Do I need to employ plumbers and the plumber unblocks four drains a month, or when I have a major plumbing job I call in a contractor?" He sees that its taking longtime for opensource to be disruptive and he is spot on when he says that the publicity around opensource is "an advocacy of those who wish to [push] open source."
As I see it, open source solutions at the bottom of the stack – typically workhorse infrastructure elements are getting well entrenched – but even a layer above – lets say starting even at database level – we see the hold loosening and as we move up certainly – opensource becomes one among multiple options. I tend to take a dim view of open source relevance - see Open source -where is the business model, Opensource : Costly & Litigatious, Open Source : Reality Check. We also recently covered Kim Polese view business models of the open source support companies – where the contours of what need to be done to support open source components become quite clear and a not seeing several players in the opensource world thinking along these lines – it would be a major impediment to consider adoption of opensource in enterprises if the support model is not made widely available and the economics and technology upgrade rate demonstrated as beneficial.

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