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Enterprise FOSS Adoption Beyond Linux Servers?

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the firefox-is-too-obvious dept.

Businesses 227

An anonymous reader writes "I am working with a couple of large companies that are purchasing web and collaboration software stacks from Microsoft, IBM and others. These are for thousands of end users and are (supposedly) ready for multiple data center deployment and other big-corp requirements. I have suggested some open source alternatives such as Liferay and Drupal, and the technical people are interested but management types are not. They have given a few reasons, such as concerns over supportability and enterprise-readiness, but my feeling is that they are being won over by FUD from large vendors and the fact that most corps do not have significant deployments of FOSS technologies beyond Linux yet. All this seems to be in line with a survey on Web-app servers by OpenLogic. So my questions are: How have you persuaded larger enterprises to adopt server-side OSS, beyond server-room Linux and a couple of demo JBoss boxes under someone's desk? And which products are truly ready for enterprise-scale deployment?"

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-Enterprise (5, Insightful)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 5 years ago | (#27335203)

Could someone re-write this story without the buzzword "enterprise" substituting for the actual requirements?

Until then, I will have to mod this down.

Re:-Enterprise (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27335265)

Exactly - are the requirements "the user must be able to logon to their computer once with Smart Card and then have all the web applications be authenticated automatically with no "password prompts" - if so, they probably aren't going to do OSS today. Otherwise, they probably can do OSS. But, as you say - useless without knowing the real requirements.

Re:-Enterprise (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27335643)

Linux just isn't ready for the enterprise yet. It may be ready for the web servers that you nerds use to distribute your TRON fanzines and personal Dungeons and Dragons web-sights across the world wide web, but the average enterprise user isn't going to spend months learning how to use a CLI and then hours compiling packages so that they can get a workable graphic interface to run their e-mail server with, especially not when they already have a Windows server that does its job perfectly well and is backed by a major corporation, as opposed to Linux which is only supported by a few unemployed nerds living in their mother's basement somewhere. The last thing I want is a level 5 dwarf (haha) providing me my OS.

Re:-Enterprise (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27335927)

Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?

Re:-Enterprise (2, Funny)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 5 years ago | (#27336177)

Yeah, because you certainly won't find nerds at Microsoft and Apple!

Re:-Enterprise (5, Insightful)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 5 years ago | (#27336455)

    You just got out of Microsoft school, didn't you?

    In the real world, the majority of servers are *nix based, with the majority of those being Linux. You'll find them all over the place.

    Yes, you'll need to learn the CLI to do it right. Playing point and click just doesn't cut it in the higher levels. Even in the higher levels of Microsoft stuff, you'll need to know how to use their CLI, except it's not well documented, and a quick Google search won't tell you all the answers.

    Wait until you have to start programming. Don't worry, if you get beyond help desk support for your local ISP, telling people how to renew their DHCP lease, you'll have to (oh my gosh) actually type things. Since you're probably unaware, the nifty point and click programs were actually written out and compiled. They didn't just start life as pretty interfaces. When you start scripting (batch, VB, Perl, PHP, or whatever) you'll live in the CLI. That is, unless you live on crutches provided to you by others.

    I'm a *nix/Linux admin. I get pulled into the Windows arena on occasion. Because I'm really good at what I do, it's assumed I'm good at anything. The truth is, I'll figure it out faster than most people, which is why they call me. Once I had to add several hundred new sites to an IIS web server. They were pointing and clicking, and wondering why the occasional one didn't work (you missed a click). I wiped out the 10 sites that they had done by hand, and scripted the whole thing. My script took less than 20 minutes to write, and less than a minute to execute. It would have taken them days to get all the sites entered and fixed, and even still, customers would have called complaining because particular check boxes weren't clicked when they should have been.

    Linux and open source are in the enterprise, and they're going to stay. They are the future, and Microsoft is struggling to keep up. But hey, MS is all you know, it's what you learned in your tech school, so you could get your MSCE, and now you hang it proudly in your cube at your call center. Congratulations. If you want to succeed, pick up some more skills. Linux, Solaris, and AIX are a start. MySQL, and Oracle, Apache are good too. Pick up Perl, PHP, shell scripting, and maybe get some decent exposure to C*. Go get your Cisco cert too. Once you're there, then you're allowed to play with the big boys. Until then, sush up and answer your support calls from housewives who can't figure out what the mouse is. Don't forget those winning Microsoft skills you picked up. Once you've shown that you are great at what you do, you'll still be asked to fix office computers because they have malware or some mysterious crashing problem.

Re:-Enterprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27336487)

WHOOOSH?

Re:-Enterprise (1)

skyshock21 (764958) | more than 5 years ago | (#27335761)

Nonsense. You can do all this with LDAP and a bit of modifications.

Re:-Enterprise (1)

spun (1352) | more than 5 years ago | (#27335923)

Thank you. Of course you can, you just need to know how to use LDAP, rather than some proprietary solution built on top of LDAP (Active Directory, EDIR) which probably never really fit you 'enterprise' needs to begin with. (Buy more plugins! Plugins, modules, and extensions! Gotta get 'em all!)

Re:-Enterprise (3, Informative)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 5 years ago | (#27335995)

That's perfectly doable on Linux, and SunRay systems have been doing it for years...
There are all kinds of ways to do this... LDAP, Kerberos, SSH keys and client certs (if you've authenticated to your user account and got access to your homedir then all your user specific keys/certs are there)..

On the other hand, having a single password to access anything is not the most secure option, it's a case of convenience over security.

Re:-Enterprise (1)

Piksou (756544) | more than 5 years ago | (#27336057)

Having 2563 different passwords leads to post-its next to the monitor. SSO is much better.

Re:-Enterprise (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 5 years ago | (#27336473)

    Hey, I love single signon's. Make sure your email and bank account have the same password, so I can shoulder surf my way into your life. Oh wait, I don't even need to look, your machine already has a keystroke logger. :)

Re:-Enterprise (1)

shogarth (668598) | more than 5 years ago | (#27335303)

I've got to agree. I think most would agree that a huge stack of non-Linux, FOSS apps are already deeply embedded in the enterprise. If the post can't come up with a requirements document, there's nothing to be said.

Re:-Enterprise (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27335593)

Taking a shit in a bag, attaching cables to it, and lighting it on fire would provide better enterprise servers than Linux. Plus it stinks just as bad as the nerds who sing Linux's praises.

You know--"Enterprise", "Enterprisy", ... (1)

mkcmkc (197982) | more than 5 years ago | (#27336183)

Well, let's see. It has to be priced at at least $2,000,000, so the big boss can say "Whatever the price is, we get half off!" and save the company a million dollars. And also, uh, what were we talking about?

Re:You know--"Enterprise", "Enterprisy", ... (5, Insightful)

jrumney (197329) | more than 5 years ago | (#27336737)

You forgot to mention that the salesman is paying for lunch after we finish the 18th hole, have you ever seen open source that does that?. -- the Management team

Sphinx for full-text searching (2, Interesting)

tcopeland (32225) | more than 5 years ago | (#27335257)

I've plugged this before... but Sphinx [sphinxsearch.com] is a great full text search engine. I've helped with a couple of production deployments and folks have been happy with it. The Ruby on Rails integration is good and the API is easy to use... for a simple demo including excerpt highlighting, try some searches on my military reading list [sphinxsearch.com] site.

Re:Sphinx for full-text searching (1)

tcopeland (32225) | more than 5 years ago | (#27335317)

> try some searches on my military reading list site.

Doh. Make that here [militarypr...glists.com] .

Re:Sphinx for full-text searching (1)

tommeke100 (755660) | more than 5 years ago | (#27336629)

ever tried http://lucene.apache.org/ [apache.org] ?
it's as good as it gets!

Use the big vendors to assist (5, Insightful)

xzvf (924443) | more than 5 years ago | (#27335299)

I work for IBM, but don't speak for them in an official capacity. Open source is customer driven and not vendor driven. There is little incentive for anyone outside your company to push open source software because it reduces their profit. Ask your vendors to come up with solutions that use open alternatives, otherwise they are just going to push what makes them money. Software margins are high and ISV's are bribed to push it. I think MS gives 6% kickback to vendors that sells a license, which is a revenue stream lost when open source is used. Ask your vendors to present an open alternative alongside their proprietary ones. Same support that management demands, but less risk.

Re:Use the big vendors to assist (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27335469)

Not anymore! We're firing your ass and replacing you with a curry eater.

Big Blue.

Re:Use the big vendors to assist (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 5 years ago | (#27336499)

    Sadly enough, I know some IBM employees. They're on their last weeks. Their jobs have been outsourced or eliminated.

Re:Use the big vendors to assist (3, Interesting)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 5 years ago | (#27336041)

Vendors should really rethink this...
Whatever they sell, they will have to support anyway...
If they sell an MS product they might get 6%, but if they sell OSS then they get 100% of whatever they sell it for... OSS isn't about zero cost, it's about freedom to use and modify the code in any way you choose. You can sell the OSS products for 7% of the cost of the MS products and still make more money off them....
It's win win for ISVs really, if the client wants to pay for something, let them pay for OSS and you keep the whole cost, and it can still be a cheaper option... If they don't want to pay then OSS is your only choice but you can afford to give it away for free because you didn't pay for it in the first place.

Re:Use the big vendors to assist (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27336865)

If they buy an MS product, they will go to MS for support. If MS doesn't support it, there are 1,000,000 of other vendors willing to if you don't.

If you convince them to use a FOSS solution, they will come to you for support. If that isn't the business that you are in, perhaps it's just easier to take the 7% and be done? Often, FOSS causes higher end user support costs.

I don't think there are any examples of this (1, Funny)

chebucto (992517) | more than 5 years ago | (#27335305)

AFAIK, all Enterprises use a proprietary and closed-source OS. With enemies like the Romulans, the Federation will take any kind of security it can get - even security thorough obscurity.

Re:I don't think there are any examples of this (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 5 years ago | (#27335779)

even security thorough obscurity.

The Romulans have a cloaking device too, you insensitive clod!

IBM is adopting (3, Interesting)

dk90406 (797452) | more than 5 years ago | (#27335323)

their own version of Open Office (Lotus Symphony) as the official internal standard this year (I work for them). MS Office will not normally be approved for internal use.
Maybe not true FOSS, but close.

Re:IBM is adopting (3, Insightful)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#27335737)

I've used Lotus Symphony (and use OpenOffice at home). To me, it actually seems slower than MS Office and is a little bit of a pain to work with at times. Unfortunately for me, saying MS Office was "nicer" is not a hip thing to do on Slashdot, but it's unfortunately true. At least in my case.

Re:IBM is adopting (4, Insightful)

rmcd (53236) | more than 5 years ago | (#27335853)

I use OpenOffice under Ubuntu (and MS Office only when I absolutely must). I agree that OO is slower and less polished. But I have found that it gets the job done, and the MS Office interface has its own issues (I'm among the hard-core ribbon-haters).

The great thing about IBM adopting symphony is that this should lead to improvements in the software. Nothing like eating your own dog food to make it taste better.

Re:IBM is adopting (1)

dk90406 (797452) | more than 5 years ago | (#27335955)

I tend to agree. As P stated, this is not popular to say :-P
MS office is faster launching (by several factors on my PC), the UI is more polished. But the 80/20 rule states (as you say) that OO would be enough for the vast majority.
It will be interesting to see how IBM will handle this internal change, while the customers keep using MS Office, and sending MSO documents.

Re:IBM is adopting (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27335883)

THe important thing to note though, is that Lotus Symphony uses ODF as its native file format. Regardless of what you think of the Lotus product, this means that the largest hardware and software company in the industry will be promoting ODF over DOC.

Re:IBM is adopting (0)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#27336011)

So open format standards are more important than overall software quality? Not sure I really agree with that.

Re:IBM is adopting (5, Insightful)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 5 years ago | (#27336535)

So open format standards are more important than overall software quality? Not sure I really agree with that.

I would.

It does seem counter-intuitive, but an open standard at least guarantees that your documents will be readable if you conclude the software you are using does not meet your needs. You simply get a new program and leave the documents be.

An open standard means a more level playing field. And that means some evolution can occur.

Re:IBM is adopting (2, Informative)

digitalunity (19107) | more than 5 years ago | (#27335981)

I just used Symphony today for the first time and I must say the polish on it is really impressive. It was extremely easy to use and I didn't have any compatibility issues with my old MS Office created documents.

I did notice however that in Symphony Documents, my options for creating fields were all missing! A minor nuisance to be sure, but fields are nice...

In any case, the lack of an OpenOffice database equivalent made me switch back to OpenOffice. I kind of get the feeling Lotus Symphony was designed for corporate desktops, where OOo Base wouldn't be all that useful.

Re:IBM is adopting (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#27336023)

It definitely looks more polished than OO.org, I agree. But still less pretty/polished than MS Office. I'm not an anti-ribbon person, I don't really care either way... but having used Office 2003, 2007, OO.org, and Symphony actually all fairly extensively, I would take MS Office over OO.org/Symphony.

But it's hard to say no to Free. :) (but that doesn't prevent me from saying MS Office is a better polished product, and if someone wants to pay for that, then I have no problem with that..)

Re:IBM is adopting (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 5 years ago | (#27336055)

Doesn't really matter tho, it uses open standard formats to store the data which is the most important part.
I don't care what software other people use, so long as their choices don't reduce my choice (like proprietary formats often do).

Nobody ever got fired for... (4, Interesting)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 5 years ago | (#27335335)

Hard to argue for free software when the buyer's bonuses are based on saving % off MSRP (as it is in government contract procurements). Also if a big name like IBM or Microsoft crashes and burns nobody points the finger at you because there's an entrenched certification system for the monkeys maintaining the damn thing.

Re:Nobody ever got fired for... (2, Insightful)

digitalunity (19107) | more than 5 years ago | (#27336007)

Kind of insane really since being an MCSE doesn't mean shit if Microsoft crashes and burns and isn't around to write patches for you anymore.

At least if you went with IBM(depending on the product) there's a smidgin of hope that the community or your own developers can patch your business critical piece of software.

Re:Nobody ever got fired for... (2, Interesting)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 5 years ago | (#27336079)

Need to talk to whoever devised such a system then, because it's completely open to abuse...
Some big vendors need to offer OSS based products with a ridiculously high MSRP, and then offer 99% discounts to anyone who asks...

Bonuses for buyers should be based on how much of the assigned budget they save while still fulfilling the specified goals.

Re:Nobody ever got fired for... (3, Insightful)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 5 years ago | (#27336375)

Sadly this is how it actually works in Texas. Maybe not at the local level, but state education contracts are deterimned by total discount as a percentage rather than total dollars saved. Educational contractors have evolved their pricing so that their actual asking cost is 50% (or so) of the MSRP in most cases. High dollar bidding is a bizzare art/dark magic and is completely void of any reason. Fortunately I don't work in state contracts so I'm not breaking any NDAs by saying this.

Re:Nobody ever got fired for... (1)

bakes (87194) | more than 5 years ago | (#27336751)

Hard to argue for free software when the buyer's bonuses are based on saving % off MSRP (as it is in government contract procurements).

So then wouldn't you just include in the quote something like "Comparable solution using Microsoft Software would cost $x"?

IMO vendors should be doing that anyway.

Look in the mirror (4, Insightful)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 5 years ago | (#27335367)

To evaluate the success of your recommendations, take a look in the mirror. What's your credibility to suggest anything at all when you have to come to (of all places) Slashdot for advice?

Large corps have lots at stake, and they really, really, REALLY are terrified of any solutions that aren't basically guaranteed to work by large, trusted vendors. Stuff that they consider to be a competitive advantage will be enshrouded in mystery while everything else will be outsourced to the most commodity vendor.

Now, compare 'Drupal' to 'Microsoft'. Maybe everybody HERE knows how painful it can be to get MS stuff to work, but nobody is going to be fired for saying MS because it's the biggest commodity vendor in the software space.

Look in the mirror: are you trusted there? When you are fired, who is MEGACORP going to go to when there's a problem?

These questions are being answered by PEOPLE who are afraid that if they make a risky decision, they will suffer the consequences. (get fired/sued/whatever) To sell your OSS solution you have to that there's no/little risk in going with it.

Good luck.

Re:Look in the mirror (2, Interesting)

mxolisi06 (1009567) | more than 5 years ago | (#27335571)

Although I fully agree with your comment, i think you missed the point of the submission's title: in big corps, management did get convinced that linux servers aren't too risky, and they are now happily going for it (where I work management is loudly bragging about the millions they are saving with linux). Hence the question is valid: what is the reason why it isn't the case yet with say application servers ? Will it just come in due time ? Or is there a more fundamental reason, like lack of consensus about support availablility/substainability ?

Re:Look in the mirror (2, Informative)

eln (21727) | more than 5 years ago | (#27335685)

Linux got accepted because some big vendors like IBM started supporting it. Until you can get some big trusted vendors to start supporting these apps, they won't see large-scale deployment in the enterprise.

Re:Look in the mirror (4, Insightful)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 5 years ago | (#27335577)

What's your credibility to suggest anything at all when you have to come to (of all places) Slashdot for advice?

Presumably better than if he was the type to pretend he knows everything.

Large corps have lots at stake, and they really, really, REALLY are terrified of any solutions that aren't basically guaranteed to work by large, trusted vendors.

Is this a rational fear? It probably is for hardware, where the big vendor can overnight replace the entire system for you after a rat eats it, but what about software where the failure causes are different? How does responsiveness and the effectiveness of that response compare between the various guarantees? How often is this actually needed?

Now, compare 'Drupal' to 'Microsoft'. Maybe everybody HERE knows how painful it can be to get MS stuff to work, but nobody is going to be fired for saying MS because it's the biggest commodity vendor in the software space.

isn't this essentially the classic definition of FUD ("nobody ever got fired for buying IBM equipment" [wikipedia.org] )?

To sell your OSS solution you have to that there's no/little risk in going with it.

Or that the benefits outweigh the risk, else why would pretty much everyone run Windows instead of something that people don't bother to write viruses for?

Re:Look in the mirror (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#27336699)

Yes it does matter for software. Moving from system to system IS A MAJOR PAIN and very expensive.
And Yes going to Slashdot is just dumb.
Why is it dumb?
Because if you don't treat FOSS as a professional system to start with why should anybody believe you.
So what this guy should have done is go the the Drupal website and then found this page. http://drupal.org/cases [drupal.org]
Golly gee case studies about how Drupal can be used. Just like you would find at any closed source vendors site.
Interested in Liferay?
Guess what they sell it with support. It is still FOSS but I bet you a dollar that if you contact them they have many case studies and other sales tools that they can provide you.
If you just want some more case studies...
http://www.liferay.com/web/guest/products/portal/stories [liferay.com]
Merry Christmas. Here is your clue.

Re:Look in the mirror (4, Insightful)

kimvette (919543) | more than 5 years ago | (#27336129)

Large corps have lots at stake, and they really, really, REALLY are terrified of any solutions that aren't basically guaranteed to work by large, trusted vendors.

Aside from hardware (game controllers, mice/mouses[?], keyboards, etc.) what does Microsoft guarantee to work? I have read their EULAs. Heck, I even worked second-tier Windows support back in the day. They expressly disclaim all warranties, stated or implied. There _is_no_guarantee_ that Windows or Microsoft Office will work for any purpose. They do not guarantee that it will work, and they certainly won't guarantee that Microsoft Excel can properly add 2+2.

With all warranties expressly disclaimed, HOW does "REALLY are terrified of any solutions that aren't basically guaranteed to work by large, trusted vendors" make expensive proprietary software a better choice than free/open source solutions? The industry entrenched around the theory that you need it, and you will NOT take your mouth off the teats of Microsoft and you will need expensive training and "maintenance."

Finger-pointing? What happens when a proprietary product reaches EOL and support is required? Many companies require you to purchase the new product even before you can purchase the support incident - if they will even support the old version at all. Who fixes the product then? If you need data recovered, it takes someone deciphering the data format with a hex editor, or trying to make heads and tails of a closed-source vendor's idea of a database schema.

When an open-source product loses its backing (project is abandoned, the company which created it is sold or closes, or whatever) who can fix it? Whatever developer you can find who knows the language the product was coded in. Worst case you'll still have access to your data and can migrate it to something else, but in most cases you can get the defect fixed and move on in life and get back to doing your real work.

When looking at it objectively:

Which is the bigger risk?
Which is the safer bet?

You might argue that Microsoft is stable and isn't going anywhere soon, but on the other hand, all you bought was 20 seats of office (or "pirated" (arrrgh!) one across 20 workstations) and to a company with $100 billion in the bank, your threat to go elsewhere if they don't fix your bug in $f00, it's less than the buzzing of a mosquito. It's not even head lice to them. They couldn't care less because a) they already have your money b) you're too small to give a squat about and c) you're ("you" in this hypothetical situation, not "you" specifically) stupid enough to keep buying their product even when they do not fix their bugs.

So, the bug will not be fixed, and you still will pay for the product. That is just how life is. However, F/OSS would have given you the software for free (BONUS!) and you would have been able to get the bug fixed. Now, it is true perhaps that fixing the bug might cost more (if you had to hire a developer to fix it for you) than Microsoft Office would have cost you, but on the other hand, the fact remains that you could fix it and gain access to your data and get on with making a living.

Now, in an "enterprise" situation I would think that in a situation where there is no warranty, and there is an option costing millions with limited hardware support and a limited lifetime and risk of lawsuits in the event of "license" "violations" and there is a free option where the support is JUST AS GOOD, if not better, supports more server-grade hardware, there is NO risk of per-seat "license" "violations" AND the source is available so you know that at worst you can have your IT department fix it, it should be a no-brainer.

Unfortunately, swag and kickbacks convince suits otherwise.

Re:Look in the mirror (1)

rmcd (53236) | more than 5 years ago | (#27336425)

This is just one anecdote, but my institution just screwed up big time trying to implement a set of web services including a CMS. I'm a peripherally involved user. The implementation was such a disaster that the boss has put everything on hold. Best guess is that we will rip everything out and start over. It's that bad.

What's interesting is that the IT folks required, from the outset, the use of commercial products running on Microsoft server; open source was ruled out, and an expensive consulting firm was engaged to assist with the implementation. The folks pushing Microsoft have taken a big reputational hit, and the perception is that a Linux-based OSS solution (which some pushed for at the outset) would have been more successful.

So this is both to agree with you (the IT admins were terrified of anything not Microsoft) and to disagree (the result has been that OSS solutions now have a *lot* more standing and credibility, even though they haven't been used). We'll see what happens. If I didn't have to live with the results, it would be a lot of fun to watch this play out!

Re:Look in the mirror (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 5 years ago | (#27336539)

    If you're already a MS shop, sure you won't get fired for buying it. But, what happens when something breaks, you can't fix it, and when you call MS support (and pay for it), the solution takes hours.

    Like, the old Exchange had a problem when it's mail database got too large. It simply wouldn't handle mail any more. The fix was to rebuild and recompress the database. On the little network that I had to work with it on, it took at least 8 hours. We made it mandatory for Friday night at about 7pm, and let it run through the morning. From what I hear, it's fixed in the newer versions, but what newer problems have sprung up?

Re:Look in the mirror (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27336633)

Erm - I think you're really badly informed. I work for a very very large well known investment bank (ducks as everyone throws stuff at me as the "evil investment banker" - note I AM an anonymous coward today). The bank runs on open source software - and I mean back to front, side to side - virtually every system has some open source in it, and this is a company with thousands of systems (and thousands of developers). Here is a subset of the most common software in use - Linux, Java, Tomcat, Apache, Spring, log4j, Junit, Maven, Hudson, Cruise Control, easymock, Eclipse, Netbeans, Hibernate, etc. The (very well known American) investment bank I worked for 5-6 years ago also used mostly open source. The only part of the stack where both banks are nervous about open source are the database (Sybase is still really well used in the finance industry), and Windows for the desktop. It's been nearly 10 years since this has been even a subject for conversation - the only thing both organizations are cautious about is the license - GPL is not well thought of because of the potential "viral" impact on the IP in the proprietary bank developed software.

Re:Look in the mirror (1)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 5 years ago | (#27336879)

What's your credibility to suggest anything at all when you have to come to (of all places) Slashdot for advice?

Well, actually over the years I've got plenty of helpful advice from /.

No chance in hell right now... (1)

EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | more than 5 years ago | (#27335385)

With the economy how it is, corporations are going to avoid the unknown, specifically the unknown costs involved in moving to FOSS. They know the costs involved with MS/IBM/etc., and are going to stick with them. Good luck, ain't gonna happen.

Re:No chance in hell right now... (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27335965)

I suspect that you are nontrivially correct, especially in terms of psychological effects. However, I'm reminded of something somebody(can't remember who, wasn't me, if anybody knows, please credit them) said about starting a startup. It was to the effect of "On average, startups fail. So, you should have a good idea of why your startup isn't average before you start it."

When times are good, avoiding the unknown is a pretty decent strategy. You might not maximize profits; but you'll do OK on average, and you'll minimize your chance of taking severe losses. When times are bad, avoiding the unknown is a less sound strategy; because you'll do badly on average.

how to make management happy. (4, Interesting)

aoteoroa (596031) | more than 5 years ago | (#27335391)

Even if you could convince management that you can create wonderful things with open source they are still going to worry what would happen when you are gone.

I encountered this when I offered to set up open source web filters [ipcop.org] in each of our locations and save significant money compared to other solutions. Management agreed ipcop did everything we need, and would save a lot of money but was still hesitant. When I located local contractors in my city who could make changes if I was ever "hit by a bus" they gave me the go ahead.

If you are looking at open source consider opencms which has commercial support that your company can use when you leave or get promoted to another position.

Not quite (2, Insightful)

Burz (138833) | more than 5 years ago | (#27336127)

The 'users' of a web filter are sysadmins. These expert 'users' are the ones who interface with the server and router software that runs a network.

In this discussion, we are talking about true end-users and the desire of sysadmin types to make them use a nebulous classification of software ('Linux') that only the expert can competently sort through to make a desktop work.

The management types instinctively know that what the author is trying to sell them isn't something most end-users can grasp. And that just doesn't float in an environment that normally centers around person computers and their distinct operating systems. Management might have to use this 'Linux' thing themselves, despite never really registering its Look and Feel. And they probably never will because it doesn't have one per se.

The only sure way to promote Linux-based desktops in a large corporate environment is to pitch a shift toward managed thin clients, and don't mention 'Linux' until much later. IT management understands that thin clients are a different paradigm than PCs, with the former being centrally managed by one or two sysadmins; they may even understand that Unix/Linux does thin clients well; they also won't let you anywhere near their middle- and upper-management PCs (glorified terminals are for peons).

Don't ask permission (5, Informative)

Jason Earl (1894) | more than 5 years ago | (#27335411)

Free Software invariably gets into the Enterprise as a skunkworks project. The managers you are talking to have a budget for a business portal. They want the project to succeed, so that they look good, and they aren't really interested in having money left over in the budget when they are done. They are shopping around for a solution, not a project.

If you really want to get Free Software into your business the proper way to do so is talk the manager in charge of the project into spending most of his money on a proprietary product that won't actually work. There are plenty of commercial offerings out there that are likely to be a bad fit for your business. Talk the manager in question into purchasing one of those, but make sure that he takes all of the credit. It shouldn't be hard if you spent the first part of the purchasing process pushing for Free Software.

Watch the portal project crash and burn.

Now fire up a basic portal on the Free Software platform of your choice. If possible pre-populate it with data and tie it into your existing authorization and authentication mechanisms. The idea is to have a working demo of most of the functionality that the executives wanted.

The downside of this method is that, if you do it enough, you eventually end up being forced into management yourself.

Re:Don't ask permission (5, Funny)

lwsimon (724555) | more than 5 years ago | (#27335453)

This is a horrible idea.

I suspect it would work, though.

Re:Don't ask permission (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27335605)

I've seen it work. :(

Re:Don't ask permission (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27335607)

Another variation on this is to introduce FOSS stuff within non-critical applications. This way it can "sneak" into an organization and prove itself without anyone having to worry about losing their jobs if it doesn't quite work out.

I recently used Ruby on a non-critical portion of a job for a Fortune-500 account... implementing some useful data analyis tools for support staff to use. This had the added benefit of getting some of their in-house programmers acquainted with Ruby.

You're learning... (1)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 5 years ago | (#27335655)

Microsoft has been doing exactly the opposite for years.

Re:Don't ask permission (2, Insightful)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#27335773)

Hm. So you talk up a non-free (expensive) solution. You then watch the manager take all credit. You expect all blame to go on manager. Right. What's your credibility now? If I was your manager and you talked up this expensive proprietary product and it crashed and burned AND made me look bad, you're not going to be sticking around too long.

Re:Don't ask permission (1)

Jason Earl (1894) | more than 5 years ago | (#27336267)

No, you make it clear that you like the Free Software solution. In fact, for the plan to actually work you have to actually prefer the Free Software solution. More than that, you need to be able to get the Free Software solution to do what is needed. In short, don't try this unless you are confident that you can make the Free Software product work for you. Of course, experimenting with Free Software isn't particularly expensive. It can even be fun.

When the manager then shoots down the Free Software product you mostly just let the manager do whatever he wants, although suggesting that a particularly expensive product has "super enterprise" features will probably steer him in the right direction. The idea is to get him or her to spend nearly all of his budget on something that is ridiculously complicated and expensive to actually roll out. Fortunately, the folks with the most suitably baroque software tend to have the best salespeople and the highest prices so simply pointing the manager towards a product that he can barely afford should do the trick. We've all seen companies that roll out ridiculously complex content management software, that no one actually uses, when what they really need is a wiki.

Then you simply need to be prepared to save the day. If the manager is smart, you can even allow him to be part of the solution. If not, he or she can take the fall for the expensive mistake.

The worst thing that can happen in this scenario is that the expensive project actually works. All of us have software we babysit that we don't really like. That's just how life is.

Re:Don't ask permission (2, Insightful)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#27336359)

Either way, you are basically steering the project manager into a bad decision.

If I were a manager and one of my IT guys DIDN'T warn me that this or that wouldn't work, and I paid a lot of company money for it, I'm faced with two options, in my mind...

  1. My IT guy was ignorant. (not good for IT guy)
  2. My IT guy (especially if I just shot down his suggestion) wasn't particularly interested in seeing a non-his-suggestion idea work.

Maybe I'd make a weird manager, I don't know, but I'd rather have my IT guy be completely honest. Either way, no manager is going to be HAPPY with their IT guys that can't get an expensive (what do they care if it's complicated, they are paying you to figure these sorts of things out) solution working, and isn't going to be happy if his idea turns out to be a bad one, and isn't going to be happy if his idea was not only not cautioned against but supported by his IT guys. Who then couldn't get it to work.

If the manager is smart, you can even allow him to be part of the solution. If not, he or she can take the fall for the expensive mistake.

It sounds to me like you are assuming a stupid manager and a genius IT guy (who, by the way, couldn't get this "ridiculously complicated and expensive" solution to work). It also sounds like the IT guy is rather arrogant... in my experience, anyways, managers tend to not like arrogant IT guys, hehe.

Anyway. Honesty seems to work. My current manager is all for doing stuff in free (and legal) ways if it actually works. And he wants me to be honest about whether or not it's going to work, how much work it's going to require me to do, how much upkeep, how many problems I foresee running into because it's free and/or unsupported, etc.

Re:Don't ask permission (2, Informative)

Jason Earl (1894) | more than 5 years ago | (#27336565)

First of all, I would like to thank you for a series of excellent posts. Seriously, very well done.

To a certain extent my responses have been tongue in cheek. I have always liked my direct report managers. In fact, I have never worked for someone that I didn't feel had my best interests in mind. Now that I have some managerial experience myself it was clear that my previous bosses had a great deal of skill and knowledge. In fact, I would consider most of my bosses to be more intelligent than I am. I'm fairly good at gluing software together, but that's no big trick.

However, when I used to work for big business there were always plenty of cases where different departments came together to pick software. On more than one occasion the group I was working for was over-ruled and some incredibly Byzantine software was chosen. In one case in particular the manager of my group decided to basically set up a competing project that was ostensibly just for our division. He used Free Software, mostly because it fit into his budget, but also because he had technical people that he trusted that told him they could make it work.

The big budget project crashed horribly, and my manager got promoted when they picked up his project for the whole company. What he did was a bit of a gamble, but not too big of a gamble. After all, if the big budget project had worked he could have simply buried the skunkworks project.

This lead to a complete reversal on the use of Free Software within the company. It went from being strictly forbidden (including crazy things like the GNU tools for Solaris) to being fairly widely accepted.

Re:Don't ask permission (1)

CannonballHead (842625) | more than 5 years ago | (#27336897)

I try. :P :) Hopefully I didn't get too biting... in part, I was probably responding to the idea that some people do seem to have a "managers are all out to get you, so it doesn't matter what you do to them" mentality, no matter who the manager is. I'm actually fairly new to the whole business world thing, but even with good employees, the sort of corporate gossip and frustration (lack of patience and understanding, etc) is kinda ... weird, to me.

The for-our-division method seems like it would be a better way. My group uses a number of free/open source tools and some of them have been picked up on by other groups that we work with. I'd still contend that the situation you describe would be more manager to manager, not employee to manager. I personally kinda want my manager to succeed (and, thankfully, that is reciprocated) because it seems that if he succeeds, his whole group succeeds and we all look good... hopefully for good reason (I don't like the phrase "makes us look good," I don't want to look good... I want to be good.. :P )

Re:Don't ask permission (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27336123)

I had two staff members who tried this approach in our shop.

I fired them both. On the spot.

Re:Don't ask permission (2, Funny)

Jason Earl (1894) | more than 5 years ago | (#27336309)

You've had two staff members that tricked you into expensive proprietary solutions that subsequently failed and then they tried to save the day with Free Software.

And you fired them.

Let me guess, you either work for AIG or GM.

Re:Don't ask permission (1)

Yamamato (1513927) | more than 5 years ago | (#27336651)

Yeah because employees who willingly waste a company's time and money are definitely real keepers!

The business side of things (1)

dave562 (969951) | more than 5 years ago | (#27335425)

More often than not, what the managers care about is the support. They want to know that they can call someone when the implementation goes sideways and get solutions. They like the fact that Microsoft or IBM can point a finger at a previous deployment and say, "We did the exact same thing that you want to do for this other client over here, and it works. Go ahead, call them." The Microsoft and IBM people have the consulting resources and implementation teams to throw at the project. They have the roadmaps, and whitepapers and case studies. All of those seemingly insignificant things (from a purely technical implementation point of view) add up to give the management warm fuzzies.

Managers do not want to be guinea pigs. They do not want to be the first person on the block to roll out a new technology. In many cases, while FOSS may be capable of doing something, it might not have the track record of doing it. The proven track record is what sells large scale software projects.

CGI Scared them... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27335483)

They are still recovering from having to replatform web servers to J2EE after some enterprising (courageous) hacker developed their first web site using PERL (before mod_perl days too...).

The "real programmers" looked at it and in their assessment they said that variables should not have $ or % or @ preceding them, that the code was hard to read because they couldn't understand that name => value syntax, and besides, there were all these cool J2EE framework things to play with that had containers and required lots of servers and n->tier architecture stuff that they learned about in their computer science courses.

Having done enough J2EE to suit anybody, and with a clear understanding of when n->tier architecture is appropriate (seldom for most web applications), and having done enough commercial database work to know my way well around all the big players, the real answer is that FOSS easily meets these needs (as you already know). I have seen enlightened companies deploy PHP frameworks including Drupal, a growing use of MySQL, adoption of XEN (it must die, please) and KVM, and you'll not find corporation doing any Java work that isn't taking advantage of an IDE that's built around Eclipse and includes all the lovelies like AXIS and EMF.

Patience grasshopper. Use business terms to win.
  --> Scalability
  --> Ease of Acquisition
  --> Return on Investment
  --> Speed to Market

Then point out that there are some awfully big companies who have done wonderful things on Open Source platforms that made them leaner, faster, and stronger. Companies like Sony, IBM, Oracle, Amazon, Viacom. I'd leave out that Wall Street uses a ton of FOSS to run their back office. They don't seem to be doing that well these days and we don't want FOSS to be blamed for anything ;-)

Bender says ... (2, Funny)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 5 years ago | (#27335525)

How have you persuaded larger enterprises to adopt server-side OSS, beyond server-room Linux and a couple of demo JBoss boxes under someone's desk?

... try Blackjack and Hookers. On second thought, forget the Blackjack.
[Is it possible to get modded +5 Redundant?]

Not gonna happen (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27335545)

The sad fact is while you are working the managers are out playing a few rounds of golf with
the salesmen, complete with drinks and a lap dance at the local establishment. Most companies
I have dealt with are run by IT managers that will drop a signature in a heart beat for a little
kick back.

Okay how about. (3, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#27335585)

Linux
Samba
MySQL
Postgresql
Apache
Perl
Python
Ruby
Gcc
PHP
Java
Asterisk
I think you will find all of these in large corporations. AKA "Enterprise" situations.

Re:Okay how about. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27335895)

CVS
Subversion
JBoss
Hyperic
http://www.eosdirectory.com/
Twitter is RoR

I don't work for any of these companies/orgs.

- w

Re:Okay how about. (1)

rasjani (97395) | more than 5 years ago | (#27336027)

Or any of these: Twiki, Media Wiki,Joomla, Bugzilla, Trac ...

Re:Okay how about. (1)

jd (1658) | more than 5 years ago | (#27336053)

Oh, come off it. MediaWiki is not enterprise-scale. It works just fine on FAR bigger deployments.

Re:Okay how about. (1)

Evil Shabazz (937088) | more than 5 years ago | (#27336341)

We use Apache because our Data Security won't allow anyone to run an IIS server in our network. =)

Re:Okay how about. (1)

beav007 (746004) | more than 5 years ago | (#27336753)

Nice. We run IIS because it's all the boss knows...

Premature (4, Interesting)

thethibs (882667) | more than 5 years ago | (#27335609)

Thousands of users and multiple data centers is not the time to ask major stakeholders to leave their comfort zone. "Major vendor FUD" is not the issue, assuming it exists at all. When I have a major investment at stake, I don't need a saleman to tell me where the risks are. The single biggest problem with FOSS is that there is no one to share the risks with.

The time to introduce FOSS is with small non-critical projects. It's about boiling frogs. It's also about demonstrating that community support works without the threat of cancelled contracts and lawsuits. That takes a while.

It also takes some guile. It's a bit like the early days of the PC. At that time the typical IS Manager's attitude to the PC was "over my dead body." So we sold to the end user departments using their office equipment budgets (word processors, fax, telephone, copier) and flew under the IS radar. In one large Canadian federal government department, we had over 1500 PC's and 5 networks interlinked with an X.25 WAN before the ADM/IS noticed (it was the X.25 that got us. WAN came out of his budget). By that time there was nothing he could do. The trick is to introduce it a little bit at a time until it reaches critical mass.

Re:Premature (2, Insightful)

mjwx (966435) | more than 5 years ago | (#27336855)

The single biggest problem with FOSS is that there is no one to share the risks with.

No, the single biggest problem with FOSS is the illusion that MS or other proprietary vendors will share some of your risk. When this illusion is shattered, the rest of the problems are trivial.

It's about the tools, stupid. (1)

HerculesMO (693085) | more than 5 years ago | (#27335631)

Whether you use WebSphere from IBM or Sharepoint from Microsoft, you have the ability to leverage an API and develop a custom solution around something that has a few things.

1. A community.
2. Documentation
3. Support

Now I am all for open source in an environment that deems it important, but having an SLA for a solution that is now going to become your intra/extranet is important -- and Drupal doesn't provide that. Sharepoint does, and so does Websphere.

That said, I am actually a big fan of Sharepoint because it's retardedly simple to operate, administer, deploy, and regulate. In an 'enterprise' you are likely running Windows on the desktop with MS Office, and Sharepoint is a simple and inexpensive fit for an enterprise like that.

If you're an 'enterprise' that doesn't use Windows on the desktop I'd be surprised, and have to wonder if your enterprise is a Linux company, Apple, or whether you're just blowing smoke up our ass and think that 50 people is an 'enterprise'.

Re:It's about the tools, stupid. (1)

yelvington (8169) | more than 5 years ago | (#27336727)

Whether you use WebSphere from IBM or Sharepoint from Microsoft, you have the ability to leverage an API and develop a custom solution around something that has a few things.

1. A community.
2. Documentation
3. Support

Now I am all for open source in an environment that deems it important, but having an SLA for a solution that is now going to become your intra/extranet is important -- and Drupal doesn't provide that. Sharepoint does, and so does Websphere.

All these things are available for open source solutions as well. If you don't think the Drupal community [drupal.org] is adequate, there are companies [acquia.com] that provide managed Drupal solutions and support. If you need an SLA, you can get one. If you need design or implementation services, they are available from a growing list of consulting firms. [drupal.org] Drupal's code is open and documented, [drupal.org] and if you can't read code, there are plenty of books. [amazon.com] We handle our own Drupal projects internally, but not because we have to. There are many options.

Enterprise? (2, Funny)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#27335661)

I'm probably the only one here that read that and thought that migrating from LCARS to Linux might not be in the Federation's best interest. Although I'm sure that 300 years from now, all software is FOSS. ^_^

It's simple, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27335749)

become a part of management. Once there, remember all the reasons you thought open source was a good idea and make the right decision when comparing the two.

I agree that skunkworks projects are effective as well, but I tend to find the above as more effective.

Also, when discussing % off MSRP, consider purchasing a support license for the open source software you plan to use. It's generally much cheaper than a M$ solution and now you can directly quote the difference in price and therefore the company savings.

Useless Survey (2, Insightful)

thethibs (882667) | more than 5 years ago | (#27335763)

As a minor aside, the linked OpenLogic survey is useless. They only polled the people who joined their webinar--people already involved enough to be interested in a comparison of FOSS servers. That's one heck of a selection bias.

Do it right and tick all the boxes (3, Interesting)

Macka (9388) | more than 5 years ago | (#27335827)

The biggest issue you need to overcome with FOSS projects in a business setting is supportability. For example, I'm on a project at the moment where I'm transitioning the customer from a proprietary unix solution onto multiple Oracle RAC clusters on Redhat; Oracle Application servers on Redhat; and Linux Virtual Server load balancing clusters, also on Redhat. This is fine, because the software stack from top to bottom is mainstream, supported by commercial vendors, and after I'm gone there is a well defined set of skills they can recruit against and train existing staff to replace me. Since getting here though I've discovered a few bespoke applications (developed in-house by people who have since left) written using Ruby on Rails. While the apps work well today, documentation is poor to non-existent, and no one is left now with skills to understand them, develop them if requirements change or support them. They aren't backed by a vendor, so if something goes wrong they're screwed. It's kind of their own fault: they gave free rain to someone who either wanted to do this stuff using his own favourite tools, or wanted a tick on his resume, instead of sticking with technologies in line with their core competencies. If you want to do something with Drupal for example, then make sure you're able to wrap it up in a support structure (from a vendor) that can give them the security they need. Another example: I convinced my current customer that switching to Zabbix [zabbix.com] for their server, application and network monitoring and alert needs would be a good thing, and they went for it. Why? Because while Zabbix is Open Source, it's also backed by a vendor (Zabbix) and they can buy a commercial support contract. In addition, being a FOSS project they could install and test it at no cost for as long as they like before making a decision and parting with their cash. So if you can tick all the boxes, you stand a much better chance of getting your ideas accepted.

And don't listen to anyone who tells you to sneak this stuff in through the back door. If it's under the radar then your employer is in for a nasty surprise if it goes wrong. And if it's business critical you'll find yourself pink slipped faster than you can blink.

rain = reign (1)

Macka (9388) | more than 5 years ago | (#27335855)

I know, I know. Long day and I'm tired.

All over the place... (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 5 years ago | (#27335969)

Companies these days are deploying OSS all over the place, they just tend to use commercially supported distributions of it.... The trick to getting something installed, is to have a recognized vendor sell it.

A lot of OSS is deployed without companies even realizing what it is, a lot of commercial products use OSS heavily but don't say so in the marketing literature... You might get one or two paragraphs buried deep in the technical documentation or an offer to provide sourcecode to some components as required by the GPL.
Although someone could easily clone these products for free, they exist because companies won't use something that's "zero cost", but they will happily use exactly the same code if they paid money for it and bought it from a source they recognize.

Not having to pay for it isn't the biggest benefit of OSS anyway, the freedom to modify, reuse, and use open standards is... If you buy an OSS based product from a major vendor today, you should be able to migrate to the pure OSS zero cost version in the future if you need to save money.

The recession is the best argument. (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 5 years ago | (#27335987)

The software is cheap.

But the fact remains, when the software doesn't work- we can *make* IBM or Microsoft spend thousands of dollars analyzing and FIXING the problem (even if it requires a software patch). We can't *make* a group of random people do that.

I am totally pro FOSS in my personal life. But when my job depends on it, I'd use Microsoft/IBM/etc. on the back end unless the FOSS solutions were absolutely rock solid. My company is so huge that both Microsoft and IBM have had to rewrite portions of their O/S and packages for us.

Re:The recession is the best argument. (1)

ix42 (222898) | more than 5 years ago | (#27336325)

But the fact remains, when the software doesn't work- we can *make* IBM or Microsoft spend thousands of dollars analyzing and FIXING the problem (even if it requires a software patch).

Okay, what's your secret? I've got bugs that I opened with MS against Windows 2000 and Visual Studio 2003 that *still* weren't fixed as of Vista and Visual Studio 2008. So far, the only thing I've been able to *make* MS do is say "Closed (wontfix)".

We can't *make* a group of random people do that.

Maybe not a randomly chosen group of people, but you can certainly make your own employees do that, since the source is available. Or contract it out to RedHat, or whomever you like.

Technical -vs- Management (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 5 years ago | (#27336037)

and the technical people are interested but management types are not.

Why do the management people think they should override a technical recommendation? Do they not trust their staff? Is the staff misrepresenting something?

Technical: Vendor X provides the best quality, most reliable screwdrivers. They come in all the sizes we need. Vendor Y does not provide the sizes we need. Therefore, we recommend Vendor X.

Management: No, use Vendor X.

I'll admit that this does happen sometimes. But usually the problem is either that the technical staff isn't providing a solution that meets the requirements, or they are not properly communicating.

In the case of OSS, I find that technical people often lump OSS into one set of options, and commercial software into another - which sets them up for failure. Ex:

BAD APPROACH: Mr. Boss, our options are Microsoft Exchange or Lotus Notes. Oh, but I like this nice open-source package called OpenGroupware that is totally free and open and...

Make a grid of requirements, list the options, and compare them. The fact that they are OSS might be considered a benefit that weights into the decision. But other than that, the management does not need to know who holds the source code.

BETTER APPROACH: Mr Boss, we have three options. They are:
Microsoft Exchange: +1, -1, 0
OpenGroupware: +1, +1, +1
Lotus Notes: -1, -1, 0
-- Each column is a feature/requirement. One of those columns is "source code available" and another might be "community support"

Liferay and Glassfish I thin (2, Informative)

rackserverdeals (1503561) | more than 5 years ago | (#27336047)

JBoss has been pretty good at penetrating the corporate data center. I think Glassfish will do well also since it's backed by a company that already has a presence in many corporate data centers.

Since Liferay is a J2EE app, it should be a little easier since most corporate customers are already using the J2EE stack. Liferay also offers "enterprise support" if that means anything.

This might be a good time to call a Sun rep and give them your requirements and tell them you want an open source solution.

There was talk of Java Enterprise System being open sourced but I don't think that ever happened. If that's a more palatable solution for management, it might be cheaper.

Sun isn't very popular on here but they're good at getting open source into the enterprise... with support.

Who uses open source (1)

Uzbek (769060) | more than 5 years ago | (#27336049)

One convincing argument for using FOSS is to name major companies/organizations using it. For Drupal there is a nice list of sites at http://buytaert.net/tag/drupal-sites [buytaert.net] . Among organizations are Google, Nokia, Symantec, NHL, Disney, Sun and Nike to name a few.

Come to the German speaking parts of Europe (4, Interesting)

Qbertino (265505) | more than 5 years ago | (#27336133)

In Germany and the other German speaking parts of Europe you'd have a hard time with Drupal too - but for entirely different reasons. Here Typo3 [typo3.org] pratically owns the portal, intranet and CMS market. That's right. The FOSS Project Typo3 is the market leader for portal software in Germany and neighbours. The secondary market for soltions based on and built around Typo3 is way beyond critical mass and has been growing since around 2001. You have 3rd party vendors, "Typo3 Agencies" (an actual generic term - no joke!), a f*cking regular quarterly Typo3 magazine [yeebase.com] and hosters specialised on Typo3 with all the bells and wistles. Amazon.de scores around fourty (40!) hits for German books and training DVDs on Typo3 and Typo3 specific subjects. And if you're looking for a job as a web professional, it's more or less a safe bet to get into a little Typo3 & TypoScript - you'll get a gig in no time. Or at least a project or two to make ends meet. Even during this downtime there are serious job-offerings for this sort of thing.

Now if only T3 wouldn't be such a bizar behemoth operating system of a PHP CMS, I'd be really happy. But since it's open source, I guess there's not that much to moan about.

I'm a Joomla guy btw. I've seen the fucked up appmodel reverse enginered of a T3-DB of Typo3 4.0 and thus will not look at T3 again until the entire redo is finished in Version 5.0. :-)

Bottom line: MS and other proprietary vendors are a minority in this field in Germany and still businesses are thriving around the prime software solution which is FOSS. I don't see why this shouldn't happen other places aswell. It's not like German businesses are particularly known for their recklessnes or their lack of sense of quality.

Three things, including an O'Reilly book (3, Interesting)

davecb (6526) | more than 5 years ago | (#27336201)

Back when I worked for Siemens, a very conservative company, they adopted and shipped Linux 0.98 to customers.

How? Easy: it met their three requirements for a third-party product

  1. There was a book about it. O'Reilly was preferred.
  2. It came on a professionally printed CD .
  3. There was a company offering a service contract for it.

That's all it took, plus the hidden criteria, of course: it worked better than SCO.

--dave

Research, Learn from Others (1)

jacksinn (1136829) | more than 5 years ago | (#27336215)

Do research on other companies who have deployed FOSS enterprise-wide. The company I currently work switched gears from a proprietary language based sites to one in Drupal. http://www.jacksonville.com/ [jacksonville.com] now is ranked #4 for best newspaper site http://www.jacksonville.com/business/2009-02-09/story/jacksonvillecom_ranked_no_4_among_nations_top_newspaper_sites [jacksonville.com] Using Drupal has allowed us to package a highly configurable product that we can rapidly deploy to our other business units. I suggest looking for other similar situations.

We are doing this now with Drupal (2, Interesting)

cam_pdx (1515813) | more than 5 years ago | (#27336225)

I work for a small to medium sized company (4,000+). Our intranet group went with Drupal. It's been remarkably configurable. Some folks were pushing for SharePoint. To get there, we had a group (in-house) review current system types (static, CMS, Portal) and features of each group. Then made a decision as to what level we wanted to shoot for. SharePoint didn't sufficiently make the feature list, and Drupal (and others) did.

I used a spreadsheet. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27336453)

Gentlemen, this is the proposed cost of a commercial solution. This is the cost of an OSS solution. I have included twelve years' worth of the increased salaries that will be required for higher competence in the IT department than would otherwise be necessary, but I have done nothing to reflect the higher availability and reliability that would result from increased staff skill.

There are ten of you in the room. Your individual bonuses should work out to roughly 250K each this year based on the savings realized through use of OSS. If you would like to give me more insight on how your compensation is calculated I can be more accurate.

Worked for me!!!

FOSS software can be commercially supported too.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27336671)

Look at how well Red Hat is doing in the 'enterprise', and you have your answer. You just need to contact a reputable Red Hat or Novell partner, and get them invited to respond to the same RFP process that the big name vendors are, and they're in the same market with the same backing only using the software we know and love. Oh - you're working with a couple of companies... that means you are the reseller? In which case contact the vendor direct, and get help from them. That's what they're for!

-Xav

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