Discussions

News: Tough economic times call for open source measures

  1. Open source has made huge strides in enterprise adoption since the dot-com crash, said author, consultant and Java Champion, Jeff Genender. He said it seems like whenever the economy takes a nose dive and IT budgets stagnate, companies start thinking a little more open minded about open source middleware. As examples, he points to the widespread adoption of the Apache Tomcat application server as well as offerings from JBoss.

    "The first challenge is political. Getting companies to bet the farm on open source is a challenge," said Genender. "One of the issues companies have with open source is getting commercial support."

    While a good number of open source software offerings have strong communities and commercial support, many do not. The smaller the niche the software fills, the higher the likelihood that it will be under documented and/or under supported. And he said the second major barrier is just that: the fragmentation of the knowledge base. Many enterprises don't want to bet the farm on a technological gray area.

    When times are tight, however, many enterprises put their fears aside and actually find that much of what they need has strong support in the open source community, Genender said. And a company can save a good deal of money by tossing away a few commercial licenses. This is even more viable if you can get away with something more lightweight than commercial middleware.

    "With the WebSpheres and WebLogics of the world you're getting this hugely thick stack," said Genender, "when a lot of these organizations just need the Web component."

    Jeff Genender will be leading a discussion this Friday on "Getting into Open Source" at TheServerSide Java Symposium in Las Vegas.
  2. Why do you need Jeff Genender to say that. We all know that.Bad economy makes it stand out. if that makes someone expert - oh well!.
    I m not an "expert" like Jeff may be, but i think another reason is lot of ppen source now has commercial companies providing support.
    for example - Spring supports tomcat, httpd. thT makes it cheap and also easy to get 24 x 7 support. And therefore big comopanies not just start ups with small budget are adapting the open source.
     
    Apologies if i didnt sound like an expert. :)



  3. Why do you need Jeff Genender to say that. We all know that.Bad economy makes it stand out.

    The value here is that if you have management who thinks that they must use WebSphere (for example) because "that's what enterprises do" you can point to an 'expert' who says it's not necessary.  With some people, logic is useless, the only viable strategy is to appeal to authority.
  4. Why do you need Jeff Genender to say that. We all know that.

    As communities go, TSS is more aware than most of the benefits of open source. The traditional route by which open source gets into an enterprise is through people like those who read TSS, and the traditional point at which it gets blocked in an enterprise is decision makers who don't understand what open source is, what it can do for them, and don't trust the business model by which it is offered. These, I hope, are the people Jeff Genender is trying to educate. If not, he is indeed preaching to the converted.

    Dick.

  5. I'm fortunate enough to have my feet in several camps:

    1. Working as a contractor in a Fortune 500 company: 
    As opposed to cutting their licenses, they cut the contract rates and increased their low cost development.

    2. Working on an OS solution using J2EE et al:
    The OS project's uptake is increasing, but this is due to efforts of the team to promote it, rather than any economic criteria. But then how would you measure that?

    3. Building and maintaining several LAMP based websites:
    OK this is a bit of fun ...

    My point is that it appears the only sure way to succeed with an OS project is, for someone to buy your "company". There appears to be nowhere to place my OS product into the business space, unless CTOs and the like trawl through sourceforge. 
    Several sites have cropped up aiming to focus business people's attention to pertinent OS projects, but these sites are often funded by the same route as the projects themselves, so lack resource or credibility.

    In the end I feel the only way OS will succeed is for the more successful OS organisations (JBoss, Alfresco ...) to help promote other OS for BUSINESS USER sites. 

    This brings me back to my third point, one of the LAMP sites I maintain promotes Open Source Insurance solutions and I want sites like this and companies like JBoss to promote it. Then just may be the accountants of those big fortune 500 companies may choose to cut the license fees by implement OS solutions.