(Usage Goal) Open source decision making
In order to profit from the advantages of open source, organizations naturally make open source solutions part of their decision processes. Be it to use them or to include them as components in own developments or both: use a changed version of the software, adapted to the own needs. This requires strategic and organizational decisions, e.g. if it makes sense to share development cost by giving own developments to the community and all its implications, like license compliance.
So it requires proactively managing the use of open source with basic levels of awareness and understanding of the issues. This activity aims at developing a basic understanding of the fundamentals of open source:
- OSS definitions, the four freedoms
- Open source licenses basics
- Non-profit open source: free software, communities and foundations
- Commercial open source: key software vendors
- True cost of open source: systems integration and support subscription plans
This Activity addresses the need to proactively define the scope of OSS technologies used i.e. to avoid the uncontrolled creeping usage of OSS technologies.
Open Source fundamentals are relevant because they influence overall decisions in the organization and also require them. It is important to include Open Source in decision making processes to be able to profit from its advantages. So, to assess the opportunity it is necessary to clarify the following main topics:
- Is the required functionality provided?
- Is there additional functionality provided that is is not needed, but increasing complexity in the BUILD and RUN phases?
- What does the license require?
- How much does the decision make your organization supplier-independent?
- Does a support option, ready for your business needs, exist and how much does it cost?
- TCO (Total Cost of Ownership)
- Does the management know about all the advantages open source provides, e.g. beyond "saving license cost"? Being comfortable with open source helps diffuse wrong understanding and get the maximum benefit from working with project communities and vendors.
- [Note Nico] being comfortable with open source helps diffuse wrong understanding -> diffuse good understanding ?
It is equally important to assess different open source solutions in order to avoid disappointment through wrong expectations, to make it clear what the organization is required to do and all the advantages the openness of the solutions bring. All this should to be presented so the organization can assess it for its own context.
- Key progress is achieved when OSS has become a comfortable option, when selecting OSS is not seen as an exception or a dangerous choice. OSS has become a "mainstream" option.
- Key players are sufficiently convinced the open source solution has strategical advantages worth investing in it
- Gives the level of adaptability that makes a difference against the competition
- Allows to fully understand how all moving parts work
- Availability of support structures: community, paid 3rd party, employing a knowledgeable developer
- The TCO of the solution based on open source gives your organization a higher value than the alternative
- Supplier independence saves money or potentially can save money in the future
- Solution independence reduces risks to be too expensive to change the solution (no closed data formats possible)
Technologies, tools and products concerned by this activity.
There are plenty of slide decks and videos publicly accessible to raise awareness on the topics concerned by this activity so as to facilitate decision making
- Compare the needed functionality, instead of looking for an alternative for a known closed source solution.
- Make sure to have support and further development.
- Regard the effects of the solution's license on your organization.
- Convince all key players about the value of the advantages of open source, beyond "saving license cost".
- Be honest, do not exaggerate the open source solution's effect.
Links to resources in the Resource Center
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