Report Review: Open Source in the Enterprise

July 29, 2008


p. Last week, O’Reilly Radar released their latest report, “Open Source in the Enterprise”: We don’t usually review reports on DevZone but this one struck a chord.

p. It’s not often that a report generates this much excitement but “Open Source in the Enterprise” says a lot of what needs to be said to C-Levels considering making the jump to Open Source.

p. The report outlines 6 characteristics of open source and 6 factors that are driving businesses to consider open source. For most DevZone readers, none of the 6 characteristics of open source are foreign. Among them, the one that stands out is “Community”.

bq. One of the most important characteristics of open source, and the foundation for successful open source projects, is community. Community is the combined pool of product developers and users; in essence, everyone concerned with a product. Free and honest communication is typical of community, with many peer user interactions typical of a vibrant community.

p. One of the drivers they discussed was “Breaking Vendor Lock-in”. This is an important topic for many business as budget tighten and IT departments are exhorted to “do more with less”.

bq. One significant disadvantage of using proprietary software
products is that their licensing conditions lead to vendor lock-in. Because one company holds the copyright
and distributes the product under a restrictive license, usually without source code, customers are limited to a single provider.

p. The report presents a case study for each of the drivers to illustrate how a company has overcome that particular problem using open source.

p. The final section of the report is dedicated to showing open source adoption in corporations by analyzing job postings. They admit up front that this is an imperfect measure but because many companies are hesitant to admit to the use of open source, it is one of the only metrics.

p. The report retails for $399 individually or $995 for a site license and can be ordered on the “O’Reilly Radar web site”: This report is a must read for anyone at the Director level and above that is involved in IT purchasing or budgets.

About Cal Evans

Many moons ago, at the tender age of 14, Cal touched his first computer. (We're using the term "computer" loosely here, it was a TRS-80 Model 1) Since then his life has never been the same. He graduated from TRS-80s to Commodores and eventually to IBM PC's. For the past 10 years Cal has worked with PHP and MySQL on Linux OSX, and when necessary, Windows. He has built on a variety of projects ranging in size from simple web pages to multi-million dollar web applications. When not banging his head on his monitor, attempting a blood sacrifice to get a particular piece of code working, he enjoys building and managing development teams using his widely imitated but never patented management style of "management by wandering around". Cal is currently based in Nashville, TN and is gainfully unemployed as the Chief Marketing Officer of Blue Parabola, LLC. Cal is happily married to wife 1.28, the lovely and talented Kathy. Together they have 2 kids who were both bright enough not to pursue a career in IT. Cal blogs at and is the founder and host of Day Camp 4 Developers

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