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The Benefits of 'Vendor-Free' Open Source IT

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the keeping-the-consultants-out-the-cold dept.

Software 111

mjasay writes "IDC has released a report looking into industry adoption of open software. In the study, analyst Matt Lawton stumbles across an intriguing trend: IT departments do most of the services around open source, rather than third-party consulting companies. While IDC believes this is a bad thing, the data in the report suggests otherwise. 70% of the enterprises surveyed did their own implementations, while roughly 90% supported their own open-source deployments. This might be a cause for alarm if the projects weren't so successful: 70% of the projects were deemed to be of "Critical" or "High Importance" compared to other IT projects and 90% plan to maintain or increase their investment in open source projects. Could it be that open source is liberating enterprises from an unhealthy dependence on vendors, and that early results suggest that this will be a Very Good Thing for the success of IT projects, many of which have failed historically."

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Good news for those going into IT (5, Informative)

neapolitan (1100101) | more than 6 years ago | (#22451160)

Very interesting thesis of this post. In my line of work (health care) there is a lot of in-house development of patient care record systems, as there is not a dominant standard at this time.

I've found the following:

  - You get smarter, more resourceful people when they are not MSCE drones, but actually programmers that are able to solve a problem, not just relay it up the chain or find the checkbox in the configuration GUI.

  - There is much less waste in a way, and more in another way. Specifically, implementing a solution often involves talking to a single person about a problem with the database, not finding the "Oracle consultant guy" who then can talk to the "Microsoft guy." With a department that has its own development, these things seem to go faster and there is less separation of functions.

  - However, many hospitals / organizations duplicate functionality, which is the "more waste" that I talk about. I mean, many, many businesses are the same and need email / web server setups plus a few business-specific apps. This is all duplicated by each organization. Training a consultant is even more globally efficient in this regard, who can take his expertise and start multiple implementations without (expensive) retraining.

Overall, I think this is great news for smart people going into IT. You will be sought after to lead a company department, and all of those license fees can now contribute to your salary + additional savings for the company. Would you rather earn $x from being a MSCE admin, or $5x managing a vertical open-source system with much more intellectual stimulation? I'd take the latter.

Model at this point.... (3, Insightful)

ndg123 (801212) | more than 6 years ago | (#22451628)

Preferred-vendor (or preferred technology) approaches are OK until your business problem can't be helped by an existing off the shelf component. Rather than go for large scale bespoke development, the result is often large scale package customisation and integration, with most of the same disadvantages. Either of these need decent in-house business domain knowledge, which pure IT services companies can't provide, which is why some of them are aligning to industry segments and not just technology. But if you did have a decent in-house development team, that is where the pay off comes - people who 'can' *and* people who 'know'.

I don't know about healthcare, but in many other sectors, they have already moved away from having deep technical skills aligned to their business and their IT environment. Instead, they have been sold a set of packages with some glue to stick them together, plus some consultancy to glue them together. There is an in-house service delivery organisation who are there to service the machine, but they don't get asked to build new stuff. This is a shame since some of them used to do that work and enjoy it more than investigating support calls. SD will have expertise in the majority vendor (e.g. Microsoft on the desktop/office infrastructure side, Oracle on the server/db side) - but more for support than development or enhancement of applications.

The business as a whole sees a lower baseline cost for IT, with individual units (HR, marketing etc) paying for expensive projects by outside consultants, whilst accepting the trade off between the disadvantages of this model against bottom line costs.

Re:Model at this point.... (3, Insightful)

smilindog2000 (907665) | more than 6 years ago | (#22451912)

You know, there's another good reason IT guys support open source projects. When things go wrong, you just enter the error message into Google, and 80% of the time, the solution is right there! It's faster to fix open-source goobers than it is to call a support company. Google and open-source make you smarter than a paid closed-source consultant. Why do IT guys support open-source themselves? Because they can. Because it's actually easier. And... it's more fun :-)

Re:Model at this point.... (1)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 6 years ago | (#22452630)

how is that different with closed source? You get an error chances are you will find one with a closed source project as well.

Re:Model at this point.... (1)

bignetbuy (1105123) | more than 6 years ago | (#22452662)

With an open-source app, you can actually look at code and, if you have the skills, fix it.

Try that with something from Microsoft, Adobe, or Symantec.

Re:Model at this point.... (4, Interesting)

CrazedWalrus (901897) | more than 6 years ago | (#22452962)

Or, if you have decent communication skills, talk to the developers who can usually fix it very quickly. A few years ago, I was having trouble getting FreeTDS to compile on an *old* Solaris platform (not a common target in the least). I worked with the developers, James and Freddy, I think, and they were astonishingly responsive. In fact, at times I was the one slowing down the process. They had the bug investigated and patched in a day or two. Unbelievable. That could never have happened with closed-source software.

Another time I ran into a minor SQLAlchemy bug having to do with Postgres domains column types. I reported it along with some sample code to reproduce the error, and it was fixed in the next release a couple weeks later.

It's that kind of responsiveness that's the reason I'm a FOSS fanatic. I get so frustrated with closed off-the-shelf software! Yes, FOSS is sometimes a little rough around the edges or incomplete, but it's always improving and the authors have always been responsive to my problems -- even if it was a PEBKAC error. Can't say the same for closed source.

Re:Model at this point.... (1)

IdleTime (561841) | more than 6 years ago | (#22453250)

We (a very large software company with closed source) have a clause stating we will produce a bugfix within 24 hrs after the bug has been assigned to a developer for Priority 1 issues (down production system). That is basically the same as what you saw.

Re:Model at this point.... (1)

CrazedWalrus (901897) | more than 6 years ago | (#22453376)

No it isn't. What I saw is that kind of response for issues that likely only affected me, and only in odd use cases. They weren't major -- just a pain in the butt. There was no production system down, and I didn't pay them a cent. It couldn't be more different.

Re:Model at this point.... (1)

ndg123 (801212) | more than 6 years ago | (#22455512)

Yes, and if they'd been busy, on vacation, or sick, you wouldn't have got a minute of help. That's not an acceptable mitigation strategy for the risks associated with using software for mission critical applications. But a pre-paid fast response service for Sev 1 problems *is* an acceptable mitigation strategy in the eyes of IT service managers, compared with a couple of well meaning dudes who wrote the code and are empowered to fix it for whomever they choose - at the end-users' risk. In summary, its horses for courses. Value for money ? I'll leave that for someone else to discuss.

Re:Model at this point.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22458008)

But you could have gotten some resolution with the source code. Vacations/busy etc... are issues with closed source vendors too.

Re:Model at this point.... (1)

chromatic (9471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22460214)

Yes, and if they'd been busy, on vacation, or sick, you wouldn't have got a minute of help.

Yes, and if the system had been a small customer who couldn't (or wouldn't) pay for top-tier support, or if your company determined that the problem wasn't a mission-critical failure, would you have provided your tip-top 24-hour bugfix support?

Value for money ? I'll leave that for someone else to discuss.

Want to discuss value for everyone, regardless of ability to pay?

Re:Model at this point.... (1)

ndg123 (801212) | more than 6 years ago | (#22460682)

Yes, and if they'd been busy, on vacation, or sick, you wouldn't have got a minute of help.

Yes, and if the system had been a small customer who couldn't (or wouldn't) pay for top-tier support, or if your company determined that the problem wasn't a mission-critical failure, would you have provided your tip-top 24-hour bugfix support?

First, the "won't pay": If you do not need 24-hour bug fix support, then its not mission critical. Almost by definition: if the cost to the business is greater than the cost of support, you purchase the support to mitigate the risk of the business losing money. Corporate IT is driven by money, not technical perfection.

Second, the "can't pay". This is certainly a case for "self insuring", i.e. having in-house expertise, and ideally implementing systems which can obtain 24-hour support. For actual product defects which truely require vendor intervention, I agree you are pretty much stuffed with closed source. Most likely outcome is to work around the issue, either by changing your procedures or your code. But for general support issues like "how do I....", searching google will offer much more shared common knowledge for a "popular" (common/most installed) package compared to a much less used piece of software, even if the source is open.

Re:Model at this point.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22457448)

>That could never have happened with closed-source software.

That's because closed-source software often has a QA process, which these guys obviously don't. Without it, a closed source shop can crap out a patch with a one day turnaround too.

Re:Model at this point.... (2, Interesting)

ckaminski (82854) | more than 6 years ago | (#22458326)

I used to work for a place with a very technical product, and had 5+ year C++ programmers doing tech support. We were authorized with specific clients to push out patches developed by support techs for special circumstances or blatant errors without needing to go through the full QA and review cycle. It wasn't done very often, and since it was a database product we were very terrified to do it for fear of data corruption. Even if we never gave the patch to a customer, our work often ended up as the approved fix.

Some fixes truly are simple, even if the problem is horrible.

Re:Model at this point.... (1)

ckaminski (82854) | more than 6 years ago | (#22458298)

80% of the time? The ONLY time I haven't found an solution to a problem using Google is with

1. Bleeding edge hardware (ATI/NVIDIA you suck) (Closed or Open Source)
2. Rare Technologies (MAPI, RogueWave you suck)
3. Code I write myself.

I'd say closer to 99.9% of the time. It is however how you phrase your solution, and I find that my ability to solve problems correctly is mostly my ability to distill a problem down to a 10-20 term Google phrase.

Re:Good news for those going into IT (1)

naapo (982524) | more than 6 years ago | (#22451668)

- However, many hospitals / organizations duplicate functionality, which is the "more waste" that I talk about. I mean, many, many businesses are the same and need email / web server setups plus a few business-specific apps. This is all duplicated by each organization.
I believe GPL is specifically crafted to address this issue, at least in theory, as the source code for every published new version of the software must also be published. However, for the internal use within organizations, like in the hospitals you gave as an example, there is nothing in the GPL forcing to publish the source code, because the new binaries are not published either. I think some companies, e.g. Google, already benefit from that. I think it is bad, because it leads to wasted resources as you said; but on the other hand, more restrictions than GPL provides for using open-source software could also be bad.

Re:Good news for those going into IT (1)

weicco (645927) | more than 6 years ago | (#22451744)

Now I got it why our software project was so successful even when our client in healthcare business didn't have any fricking idea what they wanted and our other business partners we're totally clueless too. I never passed the 70-316 exam! I'll make a mental note not to try it again, ever ... ;)

Re:Good news for those going into IT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22453868)

One minor nitpick, but MCSE has nothing to do with programming. If you're going to take a swipe at MS at least use a more appropriate certification as your example, like MCAD.

Re:Good news for those going into IT (2, Insightful)

The Spoonman (634311) | more than 6 years ago | (#22454190)

Interesting reply, but I work in the financial industry, and I find the exact opposite to be true. Most in-house developers are clueless dimwits who've fallen behind the times because they've been isolated from real programming techniques and newer technologies. They end up doing things the same old way for years at a time and nothing really changes.

You get smarter, more resourceful people when they are not MSCE drones, but actually programmers that are able to solve a problem

This would make more sense if you hadn't mixed the two. An MCSE is a person who's taken tests to indicate technical ability administering Windows-based systems. An MCSD is a developer who has certified on MS products. The two disciplines are completely separate from each other. Administrators make terrible developers and developers make terrible administrators. Yes, in the last 21 years, I've met about 5 anecdotal people who managed to be fantastic at both, but they were an extreme exception, not the norm.

That being said, those are simply certifications. They serve a singular purpose: to provide HR drones with checklists that they can compare resumes against. They do not, in any way, indicate a person's ability to do a particular job. It merely shows they were able to memorize answers to a test and spew them out. Generally, it's pretty easy to tell the clueless from the clued-in. The clueless have their certs hanging on a wall, the clued-in don't know where theirs are.

Re:Good news for those going into IT (2, Funny)

DudeFromMars (1097893) | more than 6 years ago | (#22455452)

>>Most in-house developers are clueless dimwits

You are being too harsh.
Clueless, yes.
Dimwits?
I have seen some work up to half-wits.

Then there are a few in-house developers who are pretty good - and going to leave.
Working in-house almost always degenerates into doing at least some tech support, and that kills developer productivity.

>> Certifications.. do not, in any way, indicate a person's ability to do a particular job.

Exactly correct.
I have seen a negative correlation - more certs = less skill.
Perhaps my sample size is too small or perhaps those without skill and experience really need to bolster their resumes.
Hmmmm.

Re:Good news for those going into IT (1)

dodobh (65811) | more than 6 years ago | (#22459426)

Administrators make terrible developers and developers make terrible administrators.

Bull. Every good administrator I know is also a good programmer. Most good programmers I know are also good administrators (the exceptions tend to be academic types).

But then, my experience is on the Unix side where scripting and programming are the norm, as opposed to the Windows side where point and click is the norm.

Re:Good news for those going into IT (1)

The Spoonman (634311) | more than 6 years ago | (#22462312)

Bull. Every good administrator I know is also a good programmer. Most good programmers I know are also good administrators (the exceptions tend to be academic types).

Bull. I would contend that you're not skilled enough to know the difference.

But then, my experience is on the Unix side where scripting and programming are the norm, as opposed to the Windows side where point and click is the norm.

Actually, pretty much every Windows admin I know knows a little bit of scripting and programming as well. Just because an admin can hack together a bash or perl script does not make them a programmer. Could they jump over to the development side of the house and hit the ground running? I generally work with both sides of the house, and I haven't seen significant crossover on either side.

Re:Good news for those going into IT (1)

quux4 (932150) | more than 6 years ago | (#22457568)

You get smarter, more resourceful people when they are not MSCE drones, but actually programmers that are able to solve a problem, not just relay it up the chain or find the checkbox in the configuration GUI.

Err ... wait. Are you saying that all sysadmins should be application developers, and vice-versa?

Statistics (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22451184)

You know what they say. 53.74% of statistics are mad. up on the spot.
I mean come on. You have 4 percentages. Two of them are 70%. The other two are 90%. How big was their sample size? 10?

Re:Statistics (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22451204)

"Made", not "mad."

Re:Statistics (3, Funny)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 6 years ago | (#22451232)

78.32% of Statistics Are Just Stark Raving Mad...

Re:Statistics (1)

cduffy (652) | more than 6 years ago | (#22451234)

Perhaps you've heard of this thing called "rounding"?

If you're going by the summary, that's not much data to use making a call either way.

replacement support path for open source products (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22451224)

so what? the replacement support path for open source products = independent consultants.

Yes big time money grubbers, well educated techs can become competitive to your so called 'natural' capitalistic corporate machine without mounds and mounds of investment capital... and they will deliver, exactly what customers want. Work done. Not packaged marketing hoopla and FUD.

Disadvantages of Open Source IT (2, Funny)

The_Abortionist (930834) | more than 6 years ago | (#22451264)

Terrible security: who knows where the software is from.
Legal concerns: Lots of stolen code.
Bad quality: geeks don't like to finish what they do, just do the "fun" parts.
No testing: geeks don't like to test.
Laughable documentation: geeks don't like to communicate with users.
Expensive: Hooked on the initial $0 price, customers get shafted on support.
No help: Open source support, especially paying one, rarely brings solutions.

And on a global scale, damage to the economy, reduction of research and knowledge production, moving of capital to foreign (and potentially ennemy) countries, providing technological material support to terrorist groups.

Open source? It's bad..

It might be good if the laws were better. For instance, more patents, and more prison time for violators.

(you know it's true)

Re:Disadvantages of Open Source IT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22455664)

You should try to be more subtle when trolling. Some of your points were solid enough to at least be worth responding to, but then you go off the deep end and make it clear that you're not worth a response.

Open Source != Free (2, Interesting)

metlin (258108) | more than 6 years ago | (#22451268)

Sure, a lot of these may be Open Source, but I know of a lot of companies that have Open Source software installed by commercial vendors (e.g. Red Hat or even IBM).

Now, this may not necessarily be a bad thing, but I don't see how this is markedly different from, say, paying Microsoft.

You're still paying for support and stability -- just that you have a little more flexibility and control over your software, which usually does not matter all that much in enterprise production applications. I mean, just often do you recompile your kernel or add a new feature on your platform handling millions of transactions a day for a critical client? I didn't think so.

I mean, yay for Open Source and all that, but so what? At least from a customer perspective, you may not be paying for licenses anymore, but you are still paying for support -- and that is usually where the bulk of the expenses lie.

Re:Open Source != Free (1)

metlin (258108) | more than 6 years ago | (#22451278)

And I must clarify - when I mean vendors, I do not mean third party consultants (even by those vendors), as the article seems to indicate.

Re:Open Source != Free (2, Insightful)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#22451356)

Neither the summary nor the article seems to imply that open source == free. but it is a waste of resources to reimplement things, just because only good implementation is proprietary and you can't afford it. Some companies still implement their own timesheet and issue tracking systems -- what if there was a good OSS they could just mod to suite their needs.

Re:Open Source != Free (3, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | more than 6 years ago | (#22451602)

The biggest difference is that it's hard to institute buyer lock in if the company can commission a plug in to export the files to a different software suite. It might be expensive, but usually not, and it is usually less expensive than sticking with a company or software package that is that expensive, that outdated or possibly that insecure. In many cases the software has already been written by somebody that has wanted to do the same thing anyways.

That probably isn't as much of an issue for home users, but in a corporate environment the cost of lock in can be huge.

And that's the case whether the software is paid for or not, as long as you've got the code, you have the option to overcome the lock in most cases.

Which is why I generally use products like moneydance that can export as xml or products that use common standards like mp3 or even rtf. Looking forward to ODF though, that'll hopefully be much better than the rtfs have been.

Hmmm. (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#22451672)

SCO comes to mind. I know of a number of companies that ARE dependant on SCO. How is their service? Not so great. Also, the same thing happens in the closed source world. That is, companies like MS will say that you MUST upgrade to their next version. If you do not, then you have the issues. How many companies are actually running Win31, Win98. NT, win200, etc? Loads. Can they get patches? Nope. Not a one (save a new virus).
OTH, imagine if you buy Oracle linux, and then they are bought by MS. What do you think that MS will do to the Linux? Yeah, that support will stop day 1. Or course, in this case, you siumply switch to redhat or anybody else that offers support.

Re:Hmmm. (2, Interesting)

haruchai (17472) | more than 6 years ago | (#22452504)

If a company has a support contract, it's not that easy to just bail on it.
  Some of those enterprise or government contracts are pretty tightly written.
  I just finished taking a course at HP and the instructor said that due to
  the large installed base of OpenVMS in the US Armed Forces, HP bowed
  to the existing requirement that VMS will NEVER be "sunset".

Re:Hmmm. (3, Interesting)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 6 years ago | (#22453606)

The feds are treated different. I use to work at HP, and I can tell you that HP will not sunset that stuff because it is SOOOO profitable once active development stops . The reason is that active development has stopped so the team of 300 ppl is now done to 30 and then down to 3. But you typically have the same amount of money coming in. That is why HP likes to buy up old companies. The support dollars makes them worth a LOT. It is also why HP really did not jump on Linux at first. There will never be that opportunity for end of contracts. OpenVMS will be milked with just 10 coders on it, for the next 2-3 decades (your instructor snowed you).

But SCO is a different matter. They are about to go under. Once a company goes chap 9 or 11, they are under no legal obligations to uphold these, except ones like the feds. BG is only re-opening this case because Vista is an absolute disaster for them. Otherwise, SCO would now be gone.

Re:Open Source != Free (3, Interesting)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 6 years ago | (#22451846)

Sure, a lot of these may be Open Source, but I know of a lot of companies that have Open Source software installed by commercial vendors (e.g. Red Hat or even IBM).
Isn't The Fine Article saying exactly the opposite?

Now, this may not necessarily be a bad thing, but I don't see how this is markedly different from, say, paying Microsoft.

You're still paying for support and stability -- just that you have a little more flexibility and control over your software, which usually does not matter all that much in enterprise production applications. I mean, just often do you recompile your kernel or add a new feature on your platform handling millions of transactions a day for a critical client? I didn't think so.
In fact, in my environment, we have done exactly this. We've said "Hey [HARDWARE VENDOR] and [LINUX DISTRO VENDOR], we implemented [KERNEL HACKER]'s patch which has solved the stabilitly issue on [SERVER PRODUCT] - you guys should talk about getting this included in your next release." We've also said "Hey [SOLUTION VENDOR], we've made these code additions to [OSS PROJECT] you provided and its given us some functionality needed to solve some problems we've had - you should consider it in your next release." Granted - I don't see it every day. But it does come up.

But that's all a bit of a red herring. It's not so important that we can make code changes but that other people can. People who aren't all beholden to the same decision makers. This gives us some leeway with our environment and vendor choices. We currently deploy a lot of RHEL. But if RedHat fails us as a vendor, we can move to Canonical or even Novell with relatively minimal fuss. We've put off major vendor and architecture changes like this before because the shift from one proprietary architecture to another was so dramatic that we were willing to put up with substandard vendor support for years. If that particular example was based on an OSS architecture, the shift would have been far, far simpler (albiet still somewhat involved I'm sure).

To a lesser extent, licensing is still a plus. We have RHEL entitlements for our lab, but never enough to cover all the projects popping up. Most of the time we can simply stand up a CentOS instance and work with that until the point where one "needs" a full RHEL install. We really don't need the full support of RedHat for those projects. And it's nice to not worry about where the licensing is coming from.

Do we still pay for Open Source Software? Sure do.... a fair amount. Of course, at our level, licensing is supposed to be a minor issue. I'd believe that more if we didn't keep running in to issues about where other OS installs are getting licenses or how many CALs a project needs.

Re:Open Source != Free (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 6 years ago | (#22454820)

I see two levels to open source software.

1) Single vendor open source products (SQL-Ledger, MySQL) are commerical products which are released under open source licenses. Getting patches upstream means that they have to go through a single commercial entity with a stake in the process. In general, I consider these the least optimal solutions if more open ones exist.

2) Multi-Vendor open source projects (LedgerSMB, PostgreSQL, Apache, for example) are products where multiple vendors provide first-class support and are able to commit patches upstream.

The increasing DIY approach to open source projects is bad news for the former and good news for the latter.

Re:Open Source != Free (3, Interesting)

symbolset (646467) | more than 6 years ago | (#22452056)

I mean, yay for Open Source and all that, but so what? At least from a customer perspective, you may not be paying for licenses anymore, but you are still paying for support -- and that is usually where the bulk of the expenses lie.

The perspective that organic resources are inferior to external resources for solving problems can be resolved in HR by hiring capable people. You can start by hiring capable HR people or letting the prospective coworkers interview the applicants. If the attitude of the HR team is that any certified fool will do it should no surprise that certified fools are doing the work and the result will be as expected. If you can't solve this problem your competitors can and I'm not worried about how it works out for you.

You're not just paying for support and stability. If stability were a critical factor you wouldn't be looking at Microsoft solutions at all. Their history on this issue is bad. Integration is a factor too and here Microsoft has the edge because their integration from bottom to top is superb. It's easy to integrate when you have no standard to adhere to. Open source answers are great for servers where one server does one job and you can strip out every other part. Where standards are present there's no reason not to go with open solutions. TCP/IP won, didn't it? On the desktop open source doesn't gain the end-to-end integration advantage until you're dealing with high levels of customization or large numbers of apps that don't work well together. Virtualization and application servers can be very helpful here. If what you need is an end-to-end answer today with the resources you have, the Microsoft answer can be an appealing choice.

Two major problems with the Microsoft solutions are stability and flexibility. On flexibility, when you come to the point where the Microsoft solution just doesn't have the feature you want you'll find you're in a corner where the solution is beyond any answer. On stability they're improving but we're still a long way from "good". Another problem with flexibility is that if you move to a standards based approach you will find that the standards lag the practice and to compete you'll need people who can assess the merits of available technology despite lack of dominant standards. Such people are seldom cheap and often hard to find. It is my belief they are worth both the effort and the money.

If by some chance you find yourself in an organization where a movement to adopt open source or standards is successfully met with "We can't do that, we're a Microsoft shop" my best guidance is to flee to the competitor that is not so impaired, or if it's a government shop, to lay low and solve the problems you have with the best available technology and let the conflict settle itself out.

Re:Open Source != Free (1)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | more than 6 years ago | (#22452676)

You're still paying for support and stability -- just that you have a little more flexibility and control over your software, which usually does not matter all that much in enterprise production applications
Says you. If your closed/binary Microsoft application breaks, you can't fix it, you are at the mercy of the vendor. Who may not give a rodent's fuzzy behind how long it takes to bail you out, you are after all only a single sale.

Huge difference (2, Insightful)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 6 years ago | (#22453544)

Now, this may not necessarily be a bad thing, but I don't see how this is markedly different from, say, paying Microsoft.

It's massively different. With Microsoft you're locked into their file formats and their upgrade cycle. You can either dance on the end of their patch string or leave your network vulnerable. I'm constantly surprised at how much MS dictates the daily activity of MS-centric shops.

The best value with open source is to implement it yourself. The next best thing would be paying someone like IBM to do it for you. If you get mad at IBM you have the option of finding someone else to support your operation and give them the boot. If you try it yourself and run into problems, you can always get out the checkbook and call in the big boys.

Proprietary is a death trap. (1)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 6 years ago | (#22455830)

Our company doesn't currently pay any outside people to support our open source usage but we'll consider doing so on a as-needed basis. The vast majority of problems are stuff that is familiar to anyone that is experienced at working with the specific software and within the open source community but if something was new and above our abilities we'd pay for support.

We are paying for support for a large proprietary ERP system. The software was expensive, requires expensive hardware (only runs on IBM), and support is quite expensive. The software is buggy, missing obvious features, and is poorly documented. The support is often poor and most questions can only get answered, if they can be answered at all, by talking to a manager-level person in the support department or even to someone from development. The entire experience is much worse than working with open source and does not leave me with any desire to use more proprietary software.

I'm actually thinking of choosing an open source ERP project and sponsoring having the features we need added to it. Even if it took several years to bring the open source system to par with our existing system I think it'd be the better forward track because we could then switch systems and have the features we need, that the current system doesn't offer, run on our choice of hardware, and have the great support offered by open source projects. If we made this switch we'd also want commercial support though as the system would be mission critical. We'd use in-house support, community support, and commercial support to cover all our bases.

Conclusion Not In Evidence... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22451352)

This might be a cause for alarm if the projects weren't so successful: 70% of the projects were deemed to be of "Critical" or "High Importance" compared to other IT projects..."

This post reminds me that most slashdotters are engineers, and not project managers. How in the world do you infer that the projects are "so successful"?

The article (which I did read) does claim a large percentage of the projects are "Critical" or "High Importance", but this does not mean, "These are the successful projects." Rather it means, "These projects had damn well better be successful!" Are they successful? No word on that.

This is another example of posters' bias, reading conclusions into an article that does not support them.

Come back when there's some history of these internally supported projects. Let's see if they do better than the dismal 50% average success achieved by today's corporate technologists.

Re:Conclusion Not In Evidence... (2, Funny)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 6 years ago | (#22451380)

How in the world do you infer that the projects are "so successful"?

Because if you define success as somebody using open source (as slashdot editors and most posters do), then all open source projects are by definition successful. Failure would be if they used closed source, and if they used microsoft it would be a disaster.

Re:Conclusion Not In Evidence... (2, Insightful)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#22451474)

What a bullshit thing to say. A project is successful if it meets its slated goals in the agreed amount of time and expense. This has nothing to do with OSS.

Re:Conclusion Not In Evidence... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22452190)

This is British Airways joke number 666 currently cruising at 30,000 feet right over pembo13's head. Cabin crew: please jettison the toilets... WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSSSSSSHHHHH!!!

Evidence (2, Interesting)

gnutoo (1154137) | more than 6 years ago | (#22456102)

all open source projects are by definition successful. Failure would be if they used closed source, and if they used microsoft it would be a disaster.

Sure, why not? If the free software was not a success it would quickly be replaced by your other options who's costs are known. Most of these companies have been there and done that.

You are witnessing the rise of free software. It has already taken over embedded systems, HPC and other "server" applications. The whole point was to provide a community sharing building blocks that would benefit everyone. User generated software serves users. The other stuff serves it's owners. The trend really is irreversible.

Re:Conclusion Not In Evidence... (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 6 years ago | (#22451518)

Are they successful? No word on that.

Modded "Informative"?

Look, I know it's de rigeur for posters not to read TFA, but if you're going to moderate, at least TRY to understand what's going on.

This point was addressed specifically in the article;

90 percent of respondents are planning to increase or keep the same (very healthy) level of investment in open source.

Clearly, if the projects weren't working out, we'd see this number come in much lower.

Re:Conclusion Not In Evidence... (2, Informative)

daveb (4522) | more than 6 years ago | (#22451598)

90 percent of respondents are planning to increase or keep the same (very healthy) level of investment in open source. Clearly, if the projects weren't working out, we'd see this number come in much lower.
I've worked in healthcare IT (admitidly in a differentcentuary). The idea that bad projects would lead to a change in behaviour is a really nice fantasy. The reality is more like continually banging your head on a brick wall, when it hurts bang some more to see if it lessens, repeat.

Re:Conclusion Not In Evidence... (1)

SHaFT7 (612918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22456646)

This is in direct response to your sig, not your post. This is not intended to be inflammatory, or start a debate on the topic. If your going to quote God on what he's going to do, please read the book in which he says what he is going to do a little more carefully. He didn't say he would torture you forever, only that you would spend eternity separated from him. (which *I* define as torture, but obviously in a different way than you do.)

Re:Conclusion Not In Evidence... (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 6 years ago | (#22457468)

It is flamebait.

...and the rich man also died and was buried. "In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and *saw Abraham far away * and Lazarus in his bosom. "And he cried out and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.' "But Abraham said, 'Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony. " 'And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.'

Re:Conclusion Not In Evidence... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22459152)

Clearly, if the projects weren't working out, we'd see this number come in much lower.

I knew when I read the sentence that started with "Clearly", by the end of it I'd see an inference not supported by facts. This is an extraordinarily weak assumption. If I published a single project status report relying on assumptions like that one I'd lose my credibility with that client.

Again I say, conclusions must be supported by empirical facts, not the prejudices of the poster. Shouldn't that elemental logic be obvious to anyone who reads Slashdot, given that we're nerds?

Re:Conclusion Not In Evidence... (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 6 years ago | (#22454628)

"The article (which I did read) does claim a large percentage of the projects are "Critical" or "High Importance", but this does not mean, "These are the successful projects."

You don't seem to come from IT. IT projects only become "critial" or "hight importance" when they make people work better, so people start relying on them. Also, IT projects are declared sucessfull when they make people work better, so people start relying on them.

I see how one could make that inference...

Re:Conclusion Not In Evidence... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22459244)

You don't seem to come from IT.

If you "come from IT", then you must spend your time in the back room, buffered from the workings of corporate IT by your project leads and project managers.

Projects become "critical" and of "high importance" when the project sponsors (read management, including C-level officers) say they are. In any halfway decent IT shop, the importance of a project is established before the project is approved for requirements definition. This is long before any progress has been made that can be objectively assessed as success or failure. Do you have any experience in project methodology?

Your circular logic in the below quote was a wonder to behold;
IT projects only become "critial" or "hight importance" when they make people work better, so people start relying on them. Also, IT projects are declared sucessfull when they make people work better, so people start relying on them.

Re:Conclusion Not In Evidence... (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 6 years ago | (#22462128)

C-level management (at least minimal competent ones) will say that a project is critical when they lose lots of money when it fails, or gain lots of money when it is sucessfull. They discover what project is critical based on data that is continualy updated by a controling subprocess. On IT, that almost always come from people relying on the created tool.

Also, C-level management usualy don't have personal involvement on a big number of projects and are normaly easy to convince when showed hard data. And, yes, I have some (not a lot tough) experience on project methodology.

"Your circular logic in the below quote was a wonder to behold;"

Now, can you please point what is circular on two independent definitions? Maybe you should read your logic books again.

Re:Conclusion Not In Evidence... (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 6 years ago | (#22455374)

A few of us are both engineers and project managers :-) Also every good project manager I have ever met was also an engineer....

In general, I have found that open source projects when they fail are more salvageable than closed source ones. In short a failure can be rescued when you have the option to do what is necessary to make the solution work for you.

Now, granted, I manage consulting projects, so I don't directly talk as much to DIY people, but I suspect the same observations apply whether a consultant is doing the project or not.

Becoming a Project Manager (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22459382)

Also every good project manager I have ever met was also an engineer...

I have the same experience. But also, most of the very worst project managers I have worked with started as engineers. When I was starting out, engineers became project leads, and then project managers, as if they were automatically qualified by their experience in coding, design, etc., to organize work breakdown structures, schedules, status reports, and risk mitigation. Many engineers never learn how vital these are to the success of a project, by providing truthful information to sponsors.

I eventually learned how to manage projects by acquiring a large set of skills and habits that bear little relation to development. And my early technical experience makes me a much better manager than people who trained as project managers without going through the technologist experience.

ATCS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22451462)

"Could it be that open source is liberating enterprises from an unhealthy dependence on vendors, and that early results suggest that this will be a Very Good Thing for the success of IT projects, many of which have failed historically."

So were on sourceforge can I download an Air Traffic Control System?

Re:ATCS (2, Informative)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 6 years ago | (#22451540)

So were on sourceforge can I download an Air Traffic Control System?

Here [sourceforge.net] and Here [openatc.com]

Re:ATCS (4, Funny)

Jello B. (950817) | more than 6 years ago | (#22451552)

http://www.openoffice.org/ [openoffice.org]

Not sourceforge but it's so bloated there has to be an Air Traffic Control System in there somewhere.

Re:ATCS (2, Funny)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 6 years ago | (#22451584)

it's so bloated there has to be an Air Traffic Control System

OOo 2.3.1 : 107MB
MS Office 2007 : 388 MB

Judging by those numbers, it looks like MS has given Excel its flight sim back, given Word an air traffic control app, and judging by the frequency of its crashes, given Powerpoint a demolition derby...

Re:ATCS (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#22456520)

Isn't it control-alt-meta-escape-a-t-c in EMACS?

A Perfect Team (3, Insightful)

DigitalisAkujin (846133) | more than 6 years ago | (#22451604)

Ten guys @ 120k a piece who are collectively computer experts in web design, web development, front end application development, linux, windows, mac, graphics, and networking will solve 100 times more problems 20 times faster for any organization compared to 100 4 year educated drones @ 60k.

Truth....hurts. ;)

Re:A Perfect Team (3, Insightful)

eraserewind (446891) | more than 6 years ago | (#22452842)

Yeah, but managers prefer headcount than subordinates earning more than them.

Re:A Perfect Team (1)

Marcos Eliziario (969923) | more than 6 years ago | (#22456872)

+1 Absurdly and Painfully Correct and Insightful.

Re:A Perfect Team (1)

byrondv (1228088) | more than 6 years ago | (#22455240)

No they won't. Apparently they know nothing about back end development.

Yup (4, Interesting)

Phaid (938) | more than 6 years ago | (#22451620)

Frustration with lack of decent support from enterprise software is exactly the reason I switched to Linux in my work apps in the first place.

I develop software for electronic toll collection systems. In 1997, that stuff all ran on things like UnixWare 2.1 with VenturCom real-time extensions. It worked fine when it worked, but if you ever uncovered a bug that was difficult to solve, forget it. We once encountered a problem with the UnixWare 2.03 C library that caused a memory leak every time a file handle was written to. The fix? Upgrade to UW 2.1. Except, the realtime extensions package we had would only run on 2.03. What we needed was a patch to that version of the OS. SCO's answer? Well, that isn't our problem now is it? VenturCom's answer? Buy a new version of our extensions.

After experiences like that, I decided to switch our projects to Linux. In 1997, support for the near-realtime features I needed (memory locking, adjustable priorities, POSIX signals) was pretty poor under Linux, but it was worth working around it to get away from the corporate OSes.

The sad part is, my bosses initially refused to allow me to do that. The reason? There was no official means of support, we would have to maintain the software ourselves! To them, the concept of "support" was just a check box you ticked off somewhere, not something they actually ever had to use. And they had no idea that it was simply easier to go out and find a fix, or fix problems yourself, than to rely on some multilevel telephone hell that usually doesn't know anything in depth about the products it is supposed to help with.

Ironically, today, practically every embedded system in the toll and intelligent transportation industry runs on Linux; it has become the industry standard.

Re:Yup (2, Insightful)

masdog (794316) | more than 6 years ago | (#22454848)

I had this experience recently. My company was looking to implement a computer-based training system for the employees at my plant. The HR department checked with other plants and found that they all used the same vendor as part of one giant training system. This system was decent, but the company charged an arm and a leg for everything. As the IT guy, I looked into some alternatives, and I found a couple of SCORM-compliant open source LMS packages. The only drawback to those is that we would have to put together our own content.

I put together one of these systems in a virtual machine, created a test course, and wrote up the expected project cost including an intern or two to create the training materials. I presented this to the project manager thinking that the management would appreciate something that could lower the expected project costs by $10,000 or more.

Instead...the idea was turned down because "I was the only one there to support it." I brought up cross-training someone in our plant or at a higher level of the company, and that was turned down because everyone was too busy.

What I don't get is why management doesn't trust their own staff. They hire us as computing professionals, so why don't they trust us to maintain systems that they want to lower costs or improve business.

Re:Yup (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 6 years ago | (#22455828)

Feel free to contact me. My business provides support for just about every open source project out there. What we can't do internally, we can get other people to do. We provide great support (at a price), but then it depends on what you need.

Open Source (2, Interesting)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 6 years ago | (#22451626)

Open Source is used in businesses in packages that are well-known and known to be stable. They require little maintenance and has little or no support cost. Examples are the Apache web server, Eclipse development environment and BIND.

Most information about how to tweak these are found quickly by using Google, while many commercial packages are cumbersome and also sometimes requires configuration in many places/modules using a variety of user interfaces to be both safe and stable.

What often happens is that when a support issue actually occurs it can cost a lot of time to straighten out while trying to contact a vendor but it is likely already fixed in an open source package one way or another. What many analysts fails to see is that each support case can create a downtime that has an impact on both support personnel and a lot of people depending on the service.

"The time to fix" factor is seldom seen in an analysis like this.

There are of course also open source packages that doesn't work as well, but the author is often aware of that and has probably inserted a huge disclaimer stating the limitations. And how many times have you seen a limitation declaration in a commercial package? (Unless of course it's a liability limitation).

Re:Open Source (3, Interesting)

badpazzword (991691) | more than 6 years ago | (#22451868)

This is exactly what is going on in the gaming community I participate in. The game [freeallegiance.org] itself is Microsofted Open Source [slashdot.org] , but the authentication system is a proprietary solution which relies on a third-party obfuscation company [xenocode.com] .

It so happens that Windows Vista isn't fully compatible [freeallegiance.org] with the game -- .net SP3 borks the authentication system [photobucket.com] . Its dev promptly looked for the problem, and of course the problem was found in the third-party obfuscation tool. He submitted a ticket and the community is waiting for a fix.

It's been 40+ days since this issue has been found, targeted and reported, but Nothing Happens(TM). We're still waiting for the fix. The admins do not obviously want to release a non-obfuscated version of the .net authentication tool, nor they want to switch over another obfuscation company (and pay for another license). So people using Vista are currently forced to work around the problem by blocking updates and using .net uninstallers.

Even Microsoft Research has contacted us with details regarding the trouble, but again there is nothing we can do to address it.

Our community is having a 40+ days [partial] downtime, and there's nothing we can do, but wait and publish workarounds for a problem we didn't create.

Not the kind of stuff that makes you all warm and fuzzy on relying on third parties, huh?

Re:Open Source (1)

renrutal (872592) | more than 6 years ago | (#22459944)

"and there's nothing we can do"

Are there any real developers in that community? I'd say they could code their own, 10 times better, authentication code during that time.

It's about relative risk. (5, Insightful)

mawhin (635345) | more than 6 years ago | (#22451876)

Where I work, it seems to come down to

(a) Spend several ten of thousands upfront and the another few thousand every year on a commercial product. Never have it integrate like they promised it would. Wait weeks or forever for fixes. Repeat every three years. Or..

(b) Buy a couple of servers. Spend time I would otherwise have spent trying not to fall asleep putting together what we need by gluing together a few open source systems. Fix it when it breaks. Maybe it takes a few weeks. But we always get there in the end.

I'd be much happier paying good money for commercial 'solutions' if they weren't pretty much always rubbish. And by rubbish I mean plaintext auth over http, I mean wasting a week whilst vendors argue over whose problem it is - without actually investigating, etc etc.

If want less-than-perfect products with substandard support, I can do that myself.

No other services required = 20 percent (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22451916)

The article has a chart, labelled "Primary Source of Project Services".

And the line on the chart that struck me was the most was the one labelled "No other services required", with responses in the 20 percent (or more) range.

That means one in five projects, relying on Open Source Software, requires no support whatsoever (other than what the developers do for themselves, I presume).

That suggests that the Open Source Software they are using requires very little, if any, support.

In other words, IT JUST WORKS.

Can you imagine a project that relies on Windows, or other Microsoft software, that can get along without someone assigned to support? Heck, even a simple home Windows user has to know or hire someone to provide support, otherwise their PC ends up being used as a doorstop.

This matches my own experience. My son provides my PC service. When I was using Windows, I had to ask him for help every couple of weeks or so. But then he installed Linux for me (Debian, Gnome, Firefox, Thunderbird, OpenOffice), and he hasn't had to touch my PC for almost two years. Linux has never crashed on me (though Firefox has).

I know that my son also converted a small business to Linux (servers and desktops), and now they don't call him unless they want something new added -- they never call him to fix something that's broken, unless it's a hardware problem.

This means that, when it comes to Total Cost of Ownership, Open Source software is not only cheaper for the initial installation, it is also cheaper in the long run, due to reduced problems, and reduced support costs.

Re:No other services required = 20 percent (1)

jim.hansson (1181963) | more than 6 years ago | (#22452620)

I am the support guy for my family and friends and after trying to get them to use free/open source i did get less calls. you don't need them to start using GNU/Linux only replacing IE, Outlook, MS Office, and MSN messenger does some differences, this maybe has to do with users trying "less stupid things" (like installing this great/new/cool thing they found on internet). VNC is also good, when they call me with a problem I only tell them to click on VNC icon and enter my IP(me running VNC client in listening mode).

things I miss and/or have not found good free/opensouce solutions for:
antivirus (never liked AVG)

book-keeping(small company, products,prices,inventory,payroll normal stuff)
need something that can replace visma administration http://www.vismaspcs.se/ [vismaspcs.se]
or if somebody knows if it can run in Wine/cedega without problem (visma is good, just works)

software for doing labels and stickers (haven't really looked)

Re: No other services required = 20 percent (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22453772)

> replacing IE, Outlook, MS Office, and MSN messenger [on Windows] does some differences

Actually, you're right, it makes a lot of difference, by cutting off attack paths for viruses and ad/spyware. Good point!

> things I miss and/or have not found good free/opensouce solutions for:

> antivirus (never liked AVG)

It wouldn't surprise me if the Open Source antivirus products are weak. It's a question of motivation -- most developers would choose to be improving good software, to make it more virus-proof, rather than creating band-aids for Microsoft's mess.

> book-keeping(small company, products,prices,inventory,payroll normal stuff)...

There is a growing number of small business accounting solutions for Linux:

See: Linux - Accounting Software [aaxnet.com]

The list includes some known names, such as Accpac [sageaccpac.com] , and Appgen [appgen.com] .

I've also heard good things about the Open Source project SQL-Ledger [sql-ledger.org] . Because it stores its data in an SQL database (such as PostgreSQL), you can create your own reports, using, for example, the OpenOffice Database tool. Or, because it's Open Source, you can get even more adventurous, and customize it for your business.

> software for doing labels and stickers (haven't really looked)

There is support in this area. See Printing Avery labels with Linux [linux.com] .

Re: No other services required = 20 percent (1)

jim.hansson (1181963) | more than 6 years ago | (#22455700)

thanks for the reply, SQL-Ledger was the only one i have heard about.
LabelNation looks realy promising also gave me a link to Worldlabel.com with free templates to OOo.org(going to save me hours with the ruler)
now i have some research to do (if one of those companies have swedish support on their accounting software, then i'm switching to linux only).

Re:No other services required = 20 percent (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 6 years ago | (#22454732)

"Open Source software is not only cheaper for the initial installation, it is also cheaper in the long run..."

The problem is that FOSS is rarely cheaper for the initial instalation. Unless you happen to be creating your IT infrastructure now (that means, you are a new company), and have no communication problems with partners, FOSS is actualy more expensive to implement.

Alied to a very step discount rate current CEOs show, that is the problem FOSS has to overcome.

Re:No other services required = 20 percent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22455304)

Ah, but it would be really nice if you didn't just assert that FOSS sucks (in a cost sense). Your post would have been more amusing if you had provided some statistics.

That and you add that steep discounts are available to those who press the FOSS button." So, either FOSS saves you money by implementation with it, or it saves you money as a "threat" to closed source's money stream. What's not to like?

Oh, and just to make an assertion, I'd say that of actual implementations FOSS succeeds more than closed source, particularly in the long term.

Re:No other services required = 20 percent (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 6 years ago | (#22462018)

"Oh, and just to make an assertion, I'd say that of actual implementations FOSS succeeds more than closed source, particularly in the long term."

Ok, just to clarify (did you read the thread?), that was part of the GP point. I didn't disagree with him on that. I saw no need to restate it.

Now, I don't have statistics on how FOSS is normaly more expensive at the short term. I don't collect them, since I have no use for data that broad. I use specific data to decide what tool best fit a need, and that tool is likely FOSS, but sometimes it gets hard to make a point, since things will be more expensive the following quarter.

Re:No other services required = 20 percent (1)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 6 years ago | (#22455870)

The problem is that FOSS is rarely cheaper for the initial instalation. Unless you happen to be creating your IT infrastructure now (that means, you are a new company), and have no communication problems with partners, FOSS is actualy more expensive to implement.
I agree. It is also usually more expensive in the long run, at least in my experience.

But here is the catch-- this is the case because you can, if you want, pay more to get something which really matches what you need it to do, not what some marketing droid things it should do. And you can pay even more to make it match your business processes optimally.

The issue is not that you generally *have* to pay more for open source, but rather that you *can* do so and that this generally provides a better return on investment (in the case of cost savings elsewhere, better productivity, etc).

Irony? (2, Interesting)

mangu (126918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22451930)

Don't you find it funny that a paper about Open Source [idc.com] costs $4500?

Re:Irony? (1)

Vexorian (959249) | more than 6 years ago | (#22453316)

Not really.

Re:Irony? (1)

mattpalmer1086 (707360) | more than 6 years ago | (#22453654)

Not really. Open source software isn't cost free - the costs are just in different places.

Re:Irony? (1)

Big Hairy Goofy Guy (866523) | more than 6 years ago | (#22455072)

A different slashdot article just referenced an blog entry titled "Better Than Free" http://www.edge.org/3rd_culture/kelly08/kelly08_index.html [edge.org] which points out that "Interpretation" (i.e. the manual for software) is something that people will pay for, even if the original stuff is a free copy. Just so you don't have to click the link, and to add bulk to my post, the 8 qualities that you'll still be will to pay for are (in the author's opinion):
  • Immediacy
  • Personalization
  • Interpretation
  • Authenticity
  • Accessibility
  • Embodiment
  • Patronage
  • Findability

Re:Irony? (1)

Rudolf (43885) | more than 6 years ago | (#22457584)


No - Free is not synonymous with free

(speech vs beer and all that)

in house experience (2, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 6 years ago | (#22452152)

The problem with this, is it requires keeping experienced people.

good if your management are smart enough to realise the value of the people who work for them, but usually they don't see this.

Re:in house experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22455622)

The problem with this, is it requires keeping experienced people


But that's a problem that solves itself as more places participate. Just stop being stupid.

(plus one In7ormative) (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22452346)

CYA (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22452742)

When I was young I heard a saying "Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM". The concept of this is that if you were buying a computer system and the project failed, you could not be faulted for it if you had picked IBM as your vendor, while if you chose a different vendor your choice would be questioned and you could lose your job. This same mentality is applied to operating systtems and software now, but substitute Microsoft for IBM. Perhaps this is starting to change. It is fascinating to speculate on a world where IT managers would be questioned for their decision to choose Microsoft. "You implemented Vista all over our corporation? Why did you do that?"

I was just blogging about this (1)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 6 years ago | (#22453620)

Except I was coming at it from the angle that companies waste a fantastic amount of time and money on software vendors. The fewer you have in the mix, the more value in your IT systems.

Too many companies are locked into dysfunctional vendor-lead relationships. They're getting advice and resources from another company in business to sell them something. It's bizarre but I see it all the time.

The best value with open source is to implement it yourself. If you get into trouble you can always whistle up IBM or HP to ride in to save the day, at breath-taking charge rates, of course. Just depends on where you want to spend your money. With Microsoft you're paying for the licenses AND support. Where's the value? With OSS you're paying for support.

It's just a survey, people. (1)

gravyface (592485) | more than 6 years ago | (#22453928)

And these services are needed -- only 21% of the projects did not require attendant services.

First of all, what does IDC mean by "attendant services"? When I hear that, I think of the old half-blind guy that sits in the john at the rippers, handing out towels and cheap cologne for a tip. And trust me, kids: there's no way you're getting that second lapdance with wet hands and B.O.!

Jokes aside, are you going to call up your local best-of-breed Certified Middleware Synergizer (TM) to setup Subversion for your in-house Web developers? Not so much.

Rolling out Asterisk + SugarCRM on OpenVZ for the inside sales division? Probably.

A "Critical" or "High Importance" project isn't necessarily difficult and may not require any additional support beyond the (usually good) documentation and online support channels.

See this for what it is: IDC, yet again, working some vague numbers for a weak conclusion to sell an overpriced research paper.

Vendor Solutions Just Take Too Long (2, Informative)

nuintari (47926) | more than 6 years ago | (#22454452)

Vendors assume you are ignorant of their products, especially as how it pertains to your own environment. Try it sometime, call a vendor and say, "I'd like to order 2 _vendor_ _model_, with X numbers of these add-ons, can I get a quote?" You won't get a quote for anything you ordered if the price tag is over a couple hundred bucks. They will happily sell you the little stuff, but the minute you order a large product, you become an idiot to them, who has to be walked through a slow and tedious process of "carefully examining your situation to ensure we find the right fit." yeah, shutup asshole. I researched this a ton, I know what this product will do, what I need it to do, I have found your 'right fit,' just quote me a price and lets get on with this. I do not need a four way phone conversation between you, the manufacturer's sales guy, and two techs explaining me a pile of stuff I already know. You are not going to sell me a product that is 10 times my expected price, I am not an idiot, when I said I wanted model Y, I meant "I want model Y!" not, "I am an idiot, and if you sweet talk me hard enough, I'll by the YY2000eleventyOverpoweredDontNeedItonlyMoronsBUyThis model"

So yeah, fuck Vendors, we do 99% of our stuff in house, we are a FreeBSD shop with a ton of custom code. I like it this way, it keeps me off the phone with sales guys and snobby support techs. When it breaks, I fix it, not pick up the phone and pray they aren't having a high call volume.

IT support costs go down but auditing goes way up (1, Interesting)

Catalina588 (1151475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22454576)

The IT department savings doing support and maintenance of open source instead of using binaries may well be a false economy.

Linux (and some open Unix variants) are the only operating systems with source code availability. IBM z/OS, AIX, HP-UX, Sun Solaris, and Microsoft Windows are all closed, black-box binaries with no source code.

In almost all IT shops with open source operating systems, it is child's play to modify an OS routine and compile it to run innocuously on an IT-managed server. Who is looking for modified OS code on a random web server? This ability to rather freely hide nefarious code is what gives nightmares to IT auditors -- and to the outside auditors and regulators who must under Sarbanes-Oxley certify the IT processes behind financial reporting.

Unfortunately, the visible in-house IT savings in avoiding a support contract with, say, Red Hat, are outweighed in the long run by the costs of fraud and increased audits and controls. But you'll see few IT executives standing up to do something about the problems of open-source-enabled fraud.

Re:IT support costs go down but auditing goes way (1)

phliar (87116) | more than 6 years ago | (#22456224)

In almost all IT shops with open source operating systems, it is child's play to modify an OS routine and compile it to run innocuously on an IT-managed server.

What a ridiculous strawman. Any company where it's child's play for an unauthorized person to install a new OS (free or not) on a production machine needs to fire all their IT people.

Why do you trust disgruntled employees in software companies to not similarly sabotage your operation?

Re:IT support costs go down but auditing goes way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22456240)

Linux (and some open Unix variants) are the only operating systems with source code availability. IBM z/OS, AIX, HP-UX, Sun Solaris, and Microsoft Windows are all closed, black-box binaries with no source code.

Now, before I go any further, are you certain about that?

Even back in the Dark Ages on the 1980's & early '90s UNIX vendors used to provide kernels object code to allow the end user to re-link kernels. It's how we used to roll before someone realised loadable kernel modules might be a good idea.

So basically you're trotting out a tired old troll without even taking the time to get basic facts correct. Excuse me while I yawn.

Re:IT support costs go down but auditing goes way (2, Informative)

ratboy666 (104074) | more than 6 years ago | (#22457232)

Of the Operating Environments you mentioned, source is available. The last "hold-out" was Microsoft -- even they make source licenses available now.

HP: see http://licensing.hp.com/slm/swl/view.slm?page=source [hp.com] (VMS, Tru64)

Solaris: completely open-source, see http://opensolaris.org/os/ [opensolaris.org]

IBM: not sure about them -- older releases of IBMs mainframe OS came with source, so I expect that z/OS comes with source. I *haven't* personally seen the source for AIX.

In general, OSs have ALWAYS come with source; back in the early '80s, for example, Digital VMS came with source (by default on microfiche AFAIR). The "closed source" OS was debuted by CP/M, and carried forward by MSDOS.

Re:IT support costs go down but auditing goes way (1)

dodobh (65811) | more than 6 years ago | (#22459470)

It's not all that more difficult to run binaries on those systems as well.
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