Open Source in an enterprise environment – Good or Bad?

From a consumer perspective, my opinion of Open Source is more than favourable. Firefox beats IE hands down, and even the blog platform I use to write this blog pips many of its peers to the post.

But can the same be said for the use of Open Source software in an enterprise environment?

In the space of one week I have heard two completely conflicting, very passionate, opinions on the subject. But who is right?

Open Source software is generated by its community of users and is not restricted from the innovative and commercial constraints of a corporate development team. You, therefore, get software that addresses the specific requirements of the community, is free of licensing costs and is more responsive to market drivers than a commercial offering.

All this is great, but what about support? What if something goes wrong at 2am as you are working on the final changes on a big project? Are you really going to call Fred1963 for help on how to fix the problem with a particular plug-in he has developed that is now crashing your machine: probably not.

With a commercial provider you could. Yes, you will be paying for the privilege, but when it comes to a business critical application I think you can probably justify it. Having someone you can turn to is worth its weight in gold!

Furthermore, commercial providers add value by offering consultancy and advice in helping implement the solution. Admittedly, the quality of this advice often differs but on the whole my experience of this from a client/user perspective has been quite positive.

Ultimately, there are clearly pros and cons when it comes to deciding which direction to go down with regard to enterprise solutions, and at the end of the day these can only really be debated on a company-by-company basis.

I appreciate that is a huge generalisation, but if you are a cash strapped University or charity, than you may find that an open source solution is most appropriate for your requirements. Alternatively, if you are a large corporate like Morgan Stanley or HP, you would probably be better off opting for a commercial provider.

Now, just to throw a spanner in the works of this conclusion, you could always go down the Open Source route and outsource the hosting and development to a commercial service provider. Would that be the best of both worlds?

More on that to follow……..

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One Response to “Open Source in an enterprise environment – Good or Bad?”

  1. Antibush Says:

    Bush and the Republicans were not protecting us on 9-11, and we aren’t a lot safer now. We may be more afraid due to george bush, but are we safer? Being fearful does not necessarily make one safer. Fear can cause people to hide and cower. What do you think? Why has bush turned our country from a country of hope and prosperity to a country of belligerence and fear.
    Our country is in debt until forever, we don’t have jobs, and we live in fear. We have invaded a country and been responsible for thousands of deaths.
    We have lost friends and influenced no one. No wonder most of the world thinks we suck. Thanks to what george bush has done to our country during the past three years, we do!

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