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New OSS Doomed In Enterprise? 235

Rob wrote to mention a Computer Business Review Online article which posits that immature open source software is doomed in an enterprise environment nowadays. From the article: "Open-source startups and relative newcomers must target a new breed of CIOs, which Graf dubs chief process innovation officers. Rather than old-school CIOs who focus on a company's data management, these guys design processes with the company's network. "If you want to become strategic to the company, you need to deal with business processors. 'The key question for open source is, Which open source technologies are mature enough to survive the consolidation that's coming?' Graf said. 'Linux? Definitely. Eclipse? Definitely. Mozilla? Most likely.'"
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New OSS Doomed In Enterprise?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 16, 2006 @10:45AM (#14733188)
    Its all about accountability. Even if Microsoft may not have the best product, when it fails, the suits are able to hold Microsoft accountable. A little harder to do that with Debian, or any OSS without corporate backing. Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM.
    • by inter alias ( 947885 ) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @10:50AM (#14733266) Journal
      Read the MS EULA.. They can't be held accountable for anything.

      What they offer is paid support. 3rd party paid support is often availible for OSS, but some exec's probably feel it need to come directly from the maker.
      • No, the MS EULA does not mean that they can't be held accountable for anything, even if the EULA says so.

        Whether they can be held accountable is up for the courts to decide.

        • by ScuzzMonkey ( 208981 ) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @11:48AM (#14733930) Homepage
          Whether they can be held accountable is up for the courts to decide.

          Provided you have sufficiently deep pockets to fight it out with the legal juggernaut that is Microsoft's counsel in that venue for a decade or more, sure. But Microsoft is actually pretty good about keeping the few major corporate entities which might do so appeased for their particular needs, so this is unlikely to happen, and for all practical purposes for the vast majority of users, the grandparent is correct.

          Besides, at the heart of the argument, they have pretty clearly signalled that they don't intend to accept responsibility just by including that language in the EULA, so that should give pause to anyone who thinks that's an important factor in purchasing decisions.
      • This is why "Red Hat" is almost synonymous with "Linux" in a lot of business circles. Red Hat offers enterprise support for the product they develop. That gives the suits some peace of mind.

        I've said for a long time that one of the things Linux needs to gain marketshare is solid support for businesses.

        Also on that list: better documentation--it can really be atrocious at times--simpler installation (yay for Ubuntu), and less convoluted processes for interfacing and emulating Microsoft networks. It's getting
    • As already pointed out, MS will do very little. This is a myth that people just assume because you "bought" it. The idea is, you buy car and if it does something horribly outside it's designed function you can goto GM, Ford, Chrysler, whoever and they will be held accountable. Therefore, Microsoft will too. It simply is a myth and this presumption is something the MS likes to play with in their FUD. This whole idea that CIO's are "savvy" and "a new breed" is completely garbage if they still believe MS will
      • Except in the case with MS, you paid to get software that fails. If you use open source, and don't pay for support, at least you didn't spend money to have software that fails.
      • As already pointed out, MS will do very little.

        That's not entirely true. Microsoft will sell you an entire army of tech support drones and Microsoft Certified Support Providers. That way your boss can go back to his boss and say, "Microsoft is working on it." To which your boss's boss will say, "I'm glad we paid for Microsoft! Just imagine how difficult it would be to get support if we paid for Linux!" Thus your boss's neck is saved from the chopping block by simply passing the buck.

        If your boss decided to keep things internal, he'd have to tell his boss, "We're working on the problem right now and hope to have it fixed soon. We could purchase support from company XYZ to speed up the process." To which your boss's boss will say, "If we're supporting it internally, why did it break in the first place and when is it going to be fixed? Is that third party the vendor? Then how do they know anything about anything?" If he gives the answer, "See, this open source stuff...," he'll hear the words, "You're fired!" before he finishes the sentence.

        Of course, your boss's boss may be smarter than that. But many managers won't take the that risk with their own necks.
        • I'm not sure what the "army of drones" is. I work for a major communications company. We have one TAM from Microsoft. OTOH, I've had to go directly to MS for help on only 2 critical problems in my entire career (excluding TechNet, where I have searched error messages and such). One was phone support and the other was our TAM. I think only once did I ever get asked, "Did you call Microsoft?" For the record, I've worked for 4 major corporations. I think for most MS companies, the need to have MS support for s
    • by haus ( 129916 ) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @11:07AM (#14733467) Homepage Journal
      Please name one example of Microsoft every being held accountable for their software failing to work as promised?
    • the suits are able to hold Microsoft accountable

      No they're not. They may think they are, but they're wrong. If a Microsoft application fails and destroys millions of dollars of data for you, and you sue Microsoft, you will at most be able to get back the price you paid for the application. Microsoft does not warrant or guarantee their software; no commodity software maker does.

      • No they're not. They may think they are, but they're wrong. If a Microsoft application fails and destroys millions of dollars of data for you, and you sue Microsoft, you will at most be able to get back the price you paid for the application. Microsoft does not warrant or guarantee their software; no commodity software maker does.

        The point is that if a Microsoft program does this, the suit can blame Microsoft for it to his boss, and therefore his own position is secure. Why would the suit care about tho

        • Microsoft might not be legally responsible for anything, but they still make a good scapegoat.

          Huh? I can use Microsoft as a scapegoat, but I can't use RedHat or the Debian team or Linus or Theo as a scapegoat? Or for that matter, Sun, IBM, or Novell? Why not?

          • Huh? I can use Microsoft as a scapegoat, but I can't use RedHat or the Debian team or Linus or Theo as a scapegoat? Or for that matter, Sun, IBM, or Novell? Why not?

            Because as soon as it is your decision to step outside the box, it becomes your fault when something goes wrong, no matter if the Microsoft way would not have worked in a million years. Its not big and its not clever, but thats the way some people see things.

    • Oh, please. Did you get that post off of a slash comment storage site? That argument has been used against open source forever, but you'll still find the same OSS tcp stack, text editors, shells, compilers, mail transport agents, DNS servers, timeservers, firewall software, media encoders/decoders, graphic manipulation libraries, webservers, vnc servers, DHCP servers, CIFS servers, FTP servers, and a whole lot more making up the underfabric of the internet without offering much, if any, direct support.
    • Its all about accountability. Even if Microsoft may not have the best product, when it fails, the suits are able to hold Microsoft accountable.

      Masterful troll, and as anyone who has had experience dealing with an uncooperatinve Microsoft-based solution knows it is a statement so blatantly full of crap it is hilarious. MS has a whole departmnent of legal people whose sole job it is to make sure Microsoft holds as little accountability as legally possible.

      A little harder to do that with Debian, or any OSS wi
  • Maven has come quite a ways in the past year as well. If you're looking to ditch your overly complicated ant build scripts for organized simplicity with reports, take a gander:

    http://maven.apache.org/ [apache.org]

    I'll go out on a limb and say it will be more important than eclipse in 2 years.
    • Maven has come quite a ways in the past year as well.

      Uwe Boll says "BloodRayne" is ten times bettern than "Alone in the Dark."

      That doesn't mean I'm going to run out and buy a copy of BloodRayne anytime soon.
    • Um - no. Because they fit two entirely different needs. I'm currently working on a project that's using Maven to build the project and reports, and using Eclipse as the IDE. Maven handles the build via the Eclipse "external tools" feature. (Although there is a Maven plugin for Eclipse, I'm not using it.) Eclipse handles being the IDE, Maven handles downloading random libraries from who-knows-where and creating massive HTML documents. I mean, Maven handles the build process.

      It's sorta like saying "I

    • Re:Maven 2 (Score:2, Insightful)

      by xero314 ( 722674 )
      If you are looking to have to rewrite most of the available plugins and fight with configurations for weeks on end please consider Maven2.

      Someone at my company recently convinced the rest of the team (excluding myself) that we should begin to use Maven2 for out build process. Maven2 is neither complete not bug free. Please do yourself a favore and stick with ant, where you have more fine control of your file structure and many more options for tasks already available (and I will also add that the exisi
  • Keyword = immature (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CodeShark ( 17400 ) <.moc.oohay. .ta. .cphtrowslle.> on Thursday February 16, 2006 @10:48AM (#14733240) Homepage
    Enterprise environments won't use -- or at least should not use immature software from any source -- open or proprietary. In fact, most major enterprises have a very slow and conservative adoption software adoption process to prevent a single application from breaking other existing applications. Software requiring interfaces between systems are even more rigorously tested -- and this is all a good thing.

    My thought is that the problem is that few enterprise businesses are assisting in developing the maturity of applications that would enable more widespread use. Every large enterprise has small projects that would benefit from open source tools, etc. out there, but if the enterprise isn't willing to spend the developer resources, then it essentially locks the door to the acceptance of more mature open source tools that are validated "in-house", thus facilitating greater acceptance throughout.

    • by Lumpy ( 12016 )
      Huh? then why are we bing pushed to upgrade every SQL server here to SQL2005?

      That is a VERY immature product from Microsoft that is guarenteed to break lots of things because it is forcing SQL99 so every old app we have that is SQL97 will break.

      (Yes I have tested, yes they break)

      • Believe him! He has a really low uid!

        Also, what makes you say Bush is trying to keep the Smart out of the USA? Is he also managing to keep it out of Mexico and Canada?
      • Actually you prove my point because while there is management pressure to upgrade, you are going through the process of testing first. A PHB that forces a bad upgrade usually won't last very long in today's IT world, hopefully if the issue is forced either you win, or at the worst his/her bad decision doesn't take you down with it.
      • Admittedly I don't have a lot of experience with MSSQL2005 yet, but other versions had server switches you could cut on for compatibility with the previous server versions. Is this feature not available in 2005 or does it not work as advertised?

        As far as upgrading apps, we haven't had any problems with stuff that was written in mssql7/2000 moving to 2005. As we do more extensive testing I'm sure we'll find some stuff.
    • by Creepy ( 93888 )
      Actually, I'd go one step further - Enterprise environments won't use any software unless they get enough customer demand for it.

      The company I work for is no exception - our ex-VP (due to aquisition, now an upper manager) claimed we would "Never, ever support Linux." The reason for that claim was that Linux had no paid support if there were problems. Since that time, we started supporting two Linux platforms that have paid support (Red Hat and Novell [SuSE]).

      That's not the end of it - some
  • by s0l3d4d ( 932623 ) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @10:50AM (#14733267) Homepage
    <i>relatively immature open source software has little chance of surviving in the enterprise, said an SAP AG executive during a speech at the Open Source Business Conference in San Francisco.</i>

    D'oh? News value? 1) immature software has never had good survival rates in the enterprise environment and 2) SAP probably wants to sell SAP software, so even if there was an open source, MATURE application, that would be enterprise strength, to be used where SAP is used, I don't somehow think that SAP would suggest anyone to use that.
    • 2) SAP probably wants to sell SAP software

      You can take that to the bank. Why is it that this article only quotes one company's VP of marketing, and yet we're debating the premise that there's some wave of consolidation coming, and open source is not yet mature enough to be part of it - and oh, by the way, SAP is trying to sell some new consolidation platform. This is only news in that it's coverage of what line a company is pushing. It'd sure be nice to see some background reporting that establishes whet

  • by tsa ( 15680 ) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @10:51AM (#14733277) Homepage
    Of course immature OSS is doomed in the Enterprise. Who wants to use any immature software where correct functioning is important? Software being open source or closed source has nothing to do with that. At the end of the day performance is the only thing that counts.
    • Sorry, with Enterprise I don't mean the spaceship, but a business environment.
    • Of course immature OSS is doomed in the Enterprise. Who wants to use any immature software where correct functioning is important? Software being open source or closed source has nothing to do with that. At the end of the day performance is the only thing that counts.

      Also implicit in the article is that OSS needs to succeed in the Enterprise. But that is not true at all, open source software is not beholden to investors seeking profit. A project can languish in obscurity for years before it matures and su
    • by gad_zuki! ( 70830 ) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @11:24AM (#14733670)
      >Of course immature OSS is doomed in the Enterprise.

      Yeah, but you know Geordi runs it anyway.
  • I agree - OSS must gain ground in the enterprise for it to thrive (more). Once good OSS has established itself as reliable and accountable, then the software will gain the respect it deserves. In order for this to happen, the software must be mature enough to withstand 'the beatings' of the suits (think maintenance costs, feature requests, etc). The only immature OSS products we use at work are in-house stuff. It is just a matter of time before the (other) big players in OSS come to the top - not just L
    • You have mixed up 'your ego' with 'OSS'. OSS is just a collection of software licences, it is not an entity with a mission. It does not need to thrive or respect from anybody, nor do books or other software. It is just things, tools if you like.
      You on the other hand seem to need some respect. I will not and can not judge if you deserve that, but demanding respect has never gained much.
      Maybe next time when you make such comments about OSS, replace OSS with 'software with a healthy fuck-you-licence'. If that
  • Just propaganda (Score:2, Interesting)

    This article had nothing to do with how well (or poorly) open source will fare in the corporate world. It was sheer propaganda from SAP. It was essentially saying "buy our crap, because the other crap out there isn't as integrated as our crap is"
  • by bubulubugoth ( 896803 ) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @10:58AM (#14733366) Homepage
    Mostly of them, will use High level, IBM, SUN and Microsoft support, they will pay for it. IBM OpenSource strategy is start using OSS products, grow in demand, and switch to their high class product...

    Example, start with bluecode+geronimo and later switch to Websphere+Db2

    But, Enterprise, are only a niche market, very well payed indeed, but there are just a few. The other market, medium sized enterprises, small, and micro, those are the sweetspot for Linux, becose they CAN work with "inmmature" sotfware becose theire also "inmmature" bussiness...

    That is the figth OSS is winning, with mysql, postgress, apache, php, samba..

    Fortune 100 have the money to pay for another Fortune 100 for its IT integration... but again... there is only 100... the other hundreds and thousands of bussiness, those are who need linux to lower costs, add more technology to their process...

    Further more... the lack of applications for linux, is a normal step in the madurity of a market.

    Rigth now, there are may software houses, developing, specific solutions, and in a few years, will become mainstream solutions. There you have compiere, OpenOffice, they still need work, a lot, but its getting done.

    Out of the box solutions for linux are needed to the mainstream, and may are building them...

    Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, all must what their ISV which are making crossplataform or linux plataform applications...
     
  • by MarkusQ ( 450076 ) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @10:59AM (#14733376) Journal

    This is a crock. As others have pointed out already, immature software is unlikely to be used in an enterprise environment (unless it was developed in house) regardless of the license. But wait, there's more. I happen to have a number of immature open source projects of my own at the moment, and I don't give a flying fig if they "make it" in an enterprise environment.

    Why? Because unlike Microsoft, I don't expect any revenue from them and thus won't be disappointed if I don't get any. I wrote them because I needed them and open sourced them because I wanted a few more eyeballs on them. But even if no one else ever even downloads them, I'm not <voice='spooky'> Dooomed </voice> because I'm not selling them in the first place. For the vast majority of open source projects, saying that they won't make it in "the Enterprise" is about as relevant as saying that cows will never use the iPod.

    --MarkusQ

    • Although I agree with your assessment that the success of OSS is not solely dependant on its success in an enterprise environment, I think you underestimate the importance of success in that environment.

      In a perfect world everyone would develop software and approach it the way you do (which I applaud). However, the fact remains that enterprises have a HUGE influence on what is successful and what isn't. Once an enterprise becomes invested in a product, it is in their best interest to support the wide use
      • by brunes69 ( 86786 ) <slashdot@k[ ]stead.org ['eir' in gap]> on Thursday February 16, 2006 @12:04PM (#14734115) Homepage

        In a perfect world everyone would develop software and approach it the way you do (which I applaud). However, the fact remains that enterprises have a HUGE influence on what is successful and what isn't.

        You're not getting it. What is "successful for an open source project? If an authour opens his code, and one other person finds it useful (either as it is, or in another project), then that project iss a success. Basically, it is having a userbase of two - the authour, plus one other person who finds it useful.

        Anything else, more users, more support, financial gains - that's just icing on the cake. It does not define "success" in an open source project. This is what business people can not seem to grasp - the vast majority of people involved in open source software are not looking to recieve any kind of financial gain, or any kind of market penetration. They are just doing it for themselves, and for other people.

    • For the vast majority of open source projects, saying that they won't make it in "the Enterprise" is about as relevant as saying that cows will never use the iPod.

      Some cows do [ipod.blox.pl], you insolent clod!

      • I knew it! (Score:3, Funny)

        by MarkusQ ( 450076 )

        I thought to myself as I typed that line: sure as anything, someone will point out that somewhere it's been done.

        But then I though: you're just being silly. A cow with an IPod!?

        Thanks for confirming my belief that, with enough eyeballs, you can find a real world example of any random joke.

        --MarkusQ

    • For the vast majority of open source projects, saying that they won't make it in "the Enterprise" is about as relevant as saying that cows will never use the iPod.

      Are you sure about that [le.ac.uk]? If they're not using iPods yet, it's only a matter of time. Maybe apple will make a cow-print-cover iPod shuffle with special bovine headphones available as an accessory from the apple store.

    • Wait, cows CAN use the iPod... Here's a commercial...

      "Introducing the new "cowPoddie". Strap this around the neck of your cow, and plug in the accessory earplugs and let your cows moo to the myoosic.

      Act now, and we'll include the matching drool cover. It comes in two cow-matching colors. Protect your investment with this.

      But WAIT... Call in the next 3 minutes and you'll get a special RFID tag for your heifers and a new "servicing kit" that protects your arms and shoulder from blowback.

      Free monkey, pump and
  • From my point of view ... OSS is not doomed ... but it needs to get some roots dug in ...

    And where, you ask should these roots start at?

    OSS users / programmers / advocates must start at the smallest level, meaning Small Businesses and those young entrepenuers.
    It's the ideal target audience to hit because they can't afford the MS licenses, and
    other software fees ... so if we get 1 or 2 OSS users / programmers / advocates jumping into these situations and voicing their opinion
    then sooner or later we'll st
  • ...but that doesn't mean immature but stable/useful FOSS won't be valued (and isn't valued) for testing, for development, and for other things which are not directly related to production applications or servers.

    We've been using FOSS software in our mainframe environment for years for everything from text editing to file management to compiler pre-processing, and I really don't see that changing.
  • I'm sure Mr. Graf hopes this to be the case.

    However, whether he is intentionally ingoring it, or whether he is ignorant, the fact of the matter is that "consolidation" on "stable" applications doesn't stop OSS projects.

    Quite the reverse, actually. If you start a new (and immature) OSS project with 1000 programmers, you will almost certainly fail. Successes generally come from small seeds that grow over time. As they become more stable and popular they gradually take over the dinasaurs in the industry. T
  • Uh, huh (Score:5, Insightful)

    by typical ( 886006 ) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @11:02AM (#14733420) Journal
    Large companies buy software from "stable organizations" not because they're worried about the quality of the software, but because it's safe. Nobody ever got fired for buying Microsoft or IBM (or, increasingly, Linux or Eclipse). You're part of a crowd -- safety in numbers.

    A purchaser at a corporation might get *fired* (cutting his salary to zero) because he bought something that turns out to not be what the company wants, but he isn't going to get that much of a reward (say, doubling his salary) if he manages to save the company the cost of the purchase by finding a free alternative.

    As a result, it's in everyone's best interest to keep their head down, run with the herd, and make maximally ass-covering decisions.

    If I'm trying to solve an engineering problem, I'm more than happy to use all kinds of high-quality packages that aren't backed by a large company. But that's because I'm trying to solve an engineering problem.

    A purchaser isn't trying to solve an engineering problem. A purchaser is trying to solve the problem of how to maximize his job safety and income. And today's corporate reward structure heavily penalizes risk-taking.

    If you want to produce solutions more in line with actually solving the original engineering problem, you go work at a startup or other small company where people don't have any problem with risk-taking.

    If you go to work at a large company, you're going to be working with a large collection of highly risk-adverse people. That may be perfectly reasonable for them -- if one is middle-aged and has a wife, kids, and a house, stability matters a hell of a lot to you. If that doesn't fit with your mindset, though, you might want to try out those smaller companies.
    • Nicholas Carter famously, or infamously, said essentially the same thing in the article "IT Doesn't Matter" [com.com] in the Harvard Business Review a few years ago. The bottom line was that risk aversion with respect to technology was a good thing. Contrary to a bazillion dollars worth of commercial software marketing, being on the bleeding edge of enterprise software didn't confer a competitive advantage on you. It usually ended up hosing you.

      This pissed off people like Steve Ballmer no end, because it meant th

      • I'm not saying that risk can be ignored. Obviously, a correct evaluation does factor in risk.

        My argument is that the costs of risk are over-weighted in a corporation relative to trying to achieve that corporation's goals (but not necessarily relative to the individual's actions).

        The "you need this because it's new" argument is broken for a whole different set of reasons.
  • In managing processes it's all about the people, not the software. Each company has their own workflow. No generic software can ever fit that. Software can only provide the framework. Each company must customize their own workflow and processes into their systems. That's why IT departments use so many of their resources just on this one problem. Within an IT department many companies have a team dedicated just to customizing systems for IT workflow. Most of the others are working on the business work
  • by HangingChad ( 677530 ) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @11:09AM (#14733506) Homepage
    I just love it when CEO's from companies producing large, expensive, proprietary data systems start throwing rocks at OSS because it's immature. When I hear that my internal babelfish translates it like so, "We're getting our ass kicked by some open source product so we have to frame the discussion in a way our customers can justify spending thousands more than is really necesary."

    Well, it may be immature but it's not bloated or overly complex. And it doesn't cost a fortune to implement or require expensive hardware or expensive training for how to customize their proprietary business objects or require any of the monstrous administrative overhead systems like Siebel demand.

    Maybe you should focus on making your product a value proposition instead of trying to run down open source. If you did more of that then maybe your crapass product wouldn't be getting the snot kicked out of it. Funny how big government and big business start thinking they have a right to exist instead of earning their living like everyone else.

    • When I hear that my internal babelfish translates it like so, "We're getting our ass kicked by some open source product so we have to frame the discussion in a way our customers can justify spending thousands more than is really necesary
      And the open source ERP sytem that's kicking SAP's ass would be what?

      Not saying you're wrong. Just asking.

    • I just love it when CEO's from companies producing large, expensive, proprietary data systems start throwing rocks at OSS because it's immature.

      What's even more is how he presents the "mess" created by non free software as a reason to eliminate free software. From the fine article,

      "The mess that companies have with their IT today is unimaginable, and the larger they get the more mess they have," Graf said. Some SAP customers have as many as 3,000 systems, for example.

      3,000 systems and NONE OF THEM TAL

  • This does not surprise me. Open source has to mature in some really 'mature' ways these days. Businesses want accountability. .ie if you make widgets, how many widgets/hour can you not make because of a cowboy network/systems engineer? How many days were we not able to sell widgets last year because of IT?

    Open-source really needs to focus on what can be seen as key business objectives(stability and operational cost). The old days of 'the one guy, jack of all trades' is harder to find these days because

  • immature open source software is doomed in an enterprise environment nowadays

    That should read "immature software is doomed in an enterprise environment nowadays". But then I guess it wouldn't be a flamebait/troll article as everyone would read it and say "duh", and quickly move on.

    Why do people always have to pick on OSS? Oh well, I guess that's the price of success. And part of the beauty of OSS is that picking on it will only make it better . . .

  • by br00tus ( 528477 ) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @11:26AM (#14733705)
    As the article says, *immature* open source projects are done, the key word being immature. Certainly - any company large enough to have a real CIO position would have been hesitant to put immature technology into operation in the past, with not that much changing up to the present.

    The article writer considers Linux as a mature technology. I worked at a Fortune 100 financial company not long ago where engineering was testing Red Hat Linux, but had none of it in production. Whether you call it data management or business processes, a critical machine could have literally billions of dollars worth of trades processed over it in a day, and engineering placed a very high value on stability. Most critical machines ran versions of Solaris which were more than one version out of date, even if they were new machines with new applications - IT management didn't want any surprises, they didn't want to be the ones to find a bug in the latest version of Solaris, or even the previous one. And if you have, say, hundreds of Sun Enterprise 4500s all over the world, you might tend to see bugs that shops with dozens, or a handful of E4500s might not. Wanting maturity is not a new thing.

    I would agree that consolidation and focus on business process is the new fad among CIOs. So perhaps the days where in large companies an immature open source project would make its way in by 10%-20% of the environment are gone while this fad lasts. But there are plenty of smaller companies who do not have the budget, and are willing to use it. My friend works for a company with $1 billion in revenue, which is one company in a corporation which has over $3 billion in revenue - the revenue is just shy of putting the corporation in the Fortune 500. Despite all of that, the IT department uses a ton of open source, and only uses propietary technology when necessary. They've even been using immature open source software when mature, good propietary solutions exist for some things, simply due to budget. Despite a lot of things, at the end of the day, free as in beer looks very, very attractive to a lot of companies over even a slightly better competitor that costs tens of thousands of dollars. Even for companies almost in the Fortune 500.

  • by Experiment 626 ( 698257 ) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @11:29AM (#14733732)

    It appears TFA is only looking at the top-town approach to OSS getting into the enterprise. CIO is looking for some well-established solution to managing data across the enterprise, so he's not going to go with an immature OSS product.


    I think where small OSS projects are most likely to find their way into the enterprise is in a bottom-up scenario. Rather than being the result of some enterprise-wide strategic business partnership, they get going when middle manager goes to developer and says "find a way to get data from X to Y". Often, some immature OSS tool will happen to be the best solution to this specific need. The OSS tool gets used for some particular task, then when another department has a similar need, they look into how the first department did it and the OSS tool gains ground from there.


    If it's being deployed on a large enough scale to even be a blip on the CIO's radar, then no, an immature piece of software (OSS or commercial) is not the answer. But that doesn't mean it won't find use in the company somewhere.

  • I don't think this is really an OSS question. As IT technologies mature and end users demand stable/commoditized products those products (OSS or Commercial) tend to leave the marketplace, or are applicable only to a niche. Any new, or less mature, product is going to have a very very hard time competing with products that are better supported, more mature, or more feature rich. At the same time, as the market matures people expect more from the end-to-end solutions, and new products arise to perform thos
  • SAP has their own developer network, and doesn't need any of that stinking open sauce stuff.

    But there's some wisdom in thinking that mature, reliable code should be used. Being able to see the freaking SOURCE might help make a wise judgment on the merits of good code, wouldn'tcha think?

    Maybe SAP's incapable of finding interesting OSS companies to buy, as their entire ecosystem surrounds SAP which also stands for NOT INVENTED HERE. I hope the helium he inhaled in San Francisco doesn't give him a headache.
    • After using SAP for a year I would personally rather go back to doing my timecard, purchase orders, and expenses on the back of a shovel using charcoal and calling it in to a Tourette-afflicted trained chimp via a tin can telephone.

      God Damn that's broken software. I'm having a hard time saying if it's actually worse than Lotus Notes, but if not they're tied for last place.
  • What exactly distinguishes an "enterprise" from a "business"?

  • process innovation officers... design processes... strategic to the company... business processors... technologies... consolidation...

    I've never heard more bullshit in a summary.
    • Seriously. What is all this crap? I'm still thrown by the word "enterprise"; it seems to mean either "company with more than one building" or "company whose officers are stupid enough to pay too much for software and consultants".

      And what's up with "partners"? Why does everybody want "partners" these days? Why not pay companies to provide you goods and services (or, God forbid, hire people to do that internally) and get paid for providing other companies and people goods and services?

      • 'Enterprise' is, and has been since I can remember, a generic term for any organized endeavor. In business circles, it seems to mean 'business', but in business circles, half the fun seems to be pretending every word in the english language means 'business'.

        What I want to know is: what is a 'business processor'?

        Seriously. It really seems like a contrived term. I mean, are we referring to any processor capable of running a spreadsheet or what?
  • I told the OSS guys to add driver support for the latest generation of phasers and warpcoils to their code. But did they listen to me? No... They don't realize what kind of hardware support is needed to make it in the enterprise.
  • "What really matters is the business value you provide and how much you can provide IT value to the organizations,"

    So far, my experience with SAP is pretty unpleasant. Its only goal seems to be to force every end-user to spend as much time as possible negotiating its obscure interface through undocumented and inconsistent dialogs and menus, rather than doing actual productive work.
  • by Hosiah ( 849792 ) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @12:37PM (#14734463)
    Something you have to remind people is just how fast OSS software grows up. I can remember when KDE was klunky and not very usable, Red Hat had trouble detecting hardware, nvu was barely able to handle a simple layout, and Gimp had only about ten filters. Time and again, I've been able to point somebody who was complaining of missing features and bugs at the new version of the same program, where the issues were addressed.

    Filing bug reports or even offering simple feedback helps the development along. But at any rate, I see OSS develop at a faster time scale. Three years ago, how many of you heard of Firefox?

  • immature open source software is doomed in an enterprise environment nowadays

    Immature open source software is no more or less "doomed" than immature closed-source software in an enterprise environment nowadays. There have been only two changes:
    - Open source software now has a chance when there's closed source competition.
    - There are mature products available for some applications.

    All software starts as immature and potentially improves with upgrades based on information collected when it en
  • Most OSS projects are doomed. A good (made-up number between 50 and 100) percent either never see the light of day, or become dead projects within their first year. Those that remain fall off one by one until only the bleeding edge software remains. That's just how good OSS evolves.

    Corporate culling notwithstanding; what CIOs don't really seem to realize is that we don't NEED them. Sure, they pay the bandwidth costs, help with the code and all, but if they suddenly stopped doing that it'd be bittorrent
    • Which is, how can any project which is non-commercial ever be doomed, as long as the maintainers are still interested in it? Now, if someone wants to start an Open Source company, where they need a product which generates revenue streams, they might be doomed for not being mature enough.

      But the projects which are either a labor of love (probably most Open Source projects), or which fill a need better than any other OSS/Free Software (Apache, Mozilla, OpenOffice.org, etc) will continue to plug along, without
  • The whole world of computing isn't comprised of "enterprise-class" users. A one-size fits all approach -- trying to make any given OSS product work for geeks, hobbiests, small businesses, corporation, education, what have you -- is unrealistic.

    OSS is a good model for innovation, for creativity, for exploration. Many OSS applications work well for niche markets, hobbiests, and researchers -- but I don't see why the "success" of an OSS package should be predicated on its acceptance by "the enterprise."

  • One thing CIOs don't realize is that non-OSS software is often more immature than betas of OSS products. Was Win XP mature before SP2? Not really.
  • Linux still can't shake the reputation of bad support that it picked up along the way. That's why the RedHats and the Novells of the world are making money by putting out and offering paid supprot for a Linux distribution. When you buy one of the commercial distributions, you know you're getting solid code in most cases that has gone through at least some integration testing.

    If a company chose to roll their own distribution, they would most likely have their own army of well-paid experts who will handle eve
  • More SAP Bullshit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Master of Transhuman ( 597628 ) on Thursday February 16, 2006 @08:23PM (#14738697) Homepage
    '"The mess that companies have with their IT today is unimaginable, and the larger they get the more mess they have," Graf said. Some SAP customers have as many as 3,000 systems, for example. "They would be happy with just 1,000," he said.'

    The above is the only part he got right.

    The rest of it is mere justification for SAP's position in the ERP marketplace - and a response to the fear that ERP is being blamed for most of the mess he describes.

    Sooner or later CIOs will realize that building apps from OSS tools is far cheaper and more effective than being saddled with a dinosaur like SAP for the next twenty years.

    Take anything SAP says about OSS with about the same barrel of salt you can take from anything George Bush says about Iraq.

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