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The Business Case for Open Source

11/30/2015
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Open source helps companies enhance infrastructure, undermine competitors' advantage and teach collaboration. But there are problems.
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Joe Stanganelli
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Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Light Sabre
11/30/2015 | 6:38:59 PM
Perspectives
Some people still think that it's "hippie-dippy nonsense and a bunch of communism."  It's just that hippie-dippy nonsense and communism are more popular than they were in the '80s.  ;)
Mitch Wagner
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Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
12/7/2015 | 5:55:06 PM
Re: Perspectives
People inclined to dismiss hippy-dippy nonsense should remember that the whole PC industry was founded by dippy hippies. 
brooks7
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brooks7,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/1/2015 | 11:50:31 AM
The Community
 

I think you did not talk about the challenges with the Open Source Community in enough detail.  My experience is that the following happens:

1 - Most OS projects fail.  Just like most startups.  Choosing a failing OS project at the core of what you do is a big problem.  

2 - OS development is not always regression tested the way you would expect a non-OS project to be.  You have to be VERY careful about adopting updates.  

3- OS development may not cleanly deprecate the interface you are using.  The new version might just completely drop functionality that you were using.

When you talk about "the guy next to you", you need to ask:  Is this piece of OS something that I want to use repeatedly?  If so, then you need to consider having one or more developers being contributors to the project.  By participating actively, you gain a measure of insight and control on your intended OS project.  You may consider adding staff to your company just for that purpose.  

I think the big thing is that if you are starting a modern SW development the first question to ask is "What OS am I building this on?"  then figure out what you can't buy off the shelf.  You need to find experts in that OS project, because there are always problems.  The question is who can you identify to help.

seven

 
Mitch Wagner
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Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
12/7/2015 | 5:56:12 PM
Re: The Community
Excellent points, seven! Open source isn't magic -- there are some real gotchas to look out for. 
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