Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The myths of open source software

I uncovered this interesting article from CIO Magazine's archives. "The Myths of Open Source" by M. Wheatley clearly presents (and dismisses) these top myths of using free / open source software (FOSS). In the general interest of helping to dispel some common myths, I thought I'd share the article highlights here:
  1. The attraction is the price tag, or the savings aren't real (Wrong!)
  2. There's no support (Wrong!)
  3. It's a legal minefield (Wrong!)
  4. It isn't for mission-critical applications (Wrong!)
  5. It isn't ready for the desktop (Wrong!)
But at the end of the day, how a company approaches free / open source software depends on the attitude of that organization. Paraphrasing from the article: Companies that work collaboratively with other organizations stand to gain much more from open source. Since the article was first published in 2004, we have already seen increased adoption of free / open source software. The most popular application stack is "LAMP", or "Linux + Apache + MySQL + PHP (or sometimes Perl)". Facebook and other major web applications rely on LAMP to support their business.

And while the first myth was about price, I believe we'll continue to see more "wins" for free / open source software as IT budgets continue to tighten. It may not be about price, but the low costs and big savings are hard to ignore.

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