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Convincing the Boss to Accept FOSS

Dec 08, 2009, 22:04 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Esther Schindler)

"In the last decade, I've done plenty of formal research into corporate adoption of open source. For example, I designed a survey and wrote up the results of one research study about business open source use. So I can say authoritatively: At least as of that 2008 research, the major business executive barriers to FOSS adoption are product support, the awareness of available solutions (that is, vendors come calling with a sales pitch, but the CIO might not know an open source option is available), and lack of support by management (i.e. "the boss won't let us"). I've also written the Evans Data open source report for several years, so I know that developers' FOSS perceptions of what's important are very different than the murmurings on the deep-plush-carpeted executive floor.

"But statistics go just so far, and most articles about the benefits of open source are written by-and-for techies. No research can show what motivates a hidebound, traditional boss to change his mind about the suitability of an open source application for the company. Very likely, I suspect, the adoption happens eventually because someone who works at the company argues for the new application or OS ("Hey boss, if we used this alternative instead—"), but I'm equally sure that plenty have tried the arm-twisting and failed."

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