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Doug's Mailbag: Open Source Running Even, More

Despite one analyst group's recent forecast of a major open source growth spurt this year, these readers believe open source isn't inherently better (or worse) than commercial software:

Seems to me open source software is a mixed bag. Some of it is at least as polished as commercial software, and much of it is not. It is like prospecting for gold -- you get the fever and start looking for that open source app that will solve whatever technical requirement you have. When you find something that looks good, you try it out. It always looks like a 4-inch-wide vein of gold that goes deep into the rock. But you find it is shallow and can only do the bare minimum you need, many times requiring such an effort to configure for your needs that you will need to contract with a company to get it rolled out.

Is it worth it? If you can find that 4-inch-wide vein that goes deep, it sure is. For this reason, we use very little open source software. In fact, I believe the only open source software in use in our organization has been provided by vendors in preconfigured systems. In other words, we let others do the prospecting, and only buy the jewelry that has been made with it.
-Dave

Personally, I don't think that the major open source applications are any less robust or polished than commercial ones. However, there is a lot of FUD around them that is keeping large businesses from implementing. A lot of directors and managers that I know would take the plunge into open source except for the fear of unknown costs for infringed IP. Many of us remember the hoops from the Lemelson Scare back in the '90s. Thankfully Symbol and a few others stepped up for their customers.

I believe that this is what many people see licensed software as: simply IP lawsuit insurance. One lawsuit judgement can dramatically skew the TCO.
-Joe

And Michael offers some advice to Doug, who has been the owner of three busted iPods:

eBay has replacement hard drives for the iPod that are bigger than what they came with originally, and ifixit.com has detailed instructions on how to tear the iPod apart.
-Michael

Tell us what you think! Leave a comment below or send an e-mail to dbarney@redmondmag.com.

Posted by Doug Barney on 08/14/2009 at 1:17 PM


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