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Open Source vs Closed Source -- Its about investing in People

Mar 31, 2009, 12:03 (1 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by John Buswell)

[ Thanks to Hans Bezemer for this link. ]

"1. Open Source is a strategy not a product
Open Source is an Information Technology strategy, it is not a product. When evaluating Open Source, comparing licensing, pricing, and support options are important, but the key to a successful evaluation of Open Source is to recognize that it is strategy. A good Open Source strategy reduces the software licensing costs to near-zero, develops in-house engineering talent, integrates as transparently as possible to the end-users and improves scalability on like hardware. The cost involved is the amount of outside help the strategy needs, and how much of it can be done in-house.

"2. Open Source is an investment in People instead of Vendors
When an IT executive chooses a Closed Source solution such as the Windows product line of Data center software solutions, they are choosing to invest a large portion of their budget in a vendor, in this case Microsoft. When selecting an Open Source solution, to maximize the return on that investment, the IT executives must invest in People. Open Source provides the user with access to the source code, the user in this case is the business. This is an incredibly powerful feature if it is managed properly, as you can fully support yourself with the source code. The talent must be available to help the business leverage this advantage, otherwise moving to Open Source makes a lot less sense. To use Open Source successfully, the IT executive must have someone on staff who can take a requirement, and using open source components, produce a solution within a reasonable timeframe. This could mean adding dedicated developers to the IT team, or training individuals to have software capability. Every organization is different, how they get the right people on the team is their business decision, but to attempt a switch to Open Source without the investment in people is a recipe for disaster."

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