Saturday, December 10, 2005

Jacob Hookom: Is Sun as good for open source coders as Apache?

A couple of good explanations of the open source licenses in this article. It got me to thinking about business and their approach to software and specifically support of the software. My question was this: Would it better from an IT and cost perspective to have a few strong tech resources and use open source software or is it better to use well established vendors like Microsoft, Oracle, IBM etc and pay heavy for maintenance and support.

I think the answer is, it probably varies. We tend to pay for the security blanket called support because we think they will bail us out in a bind. But in reality how often does that really happen? If you had the source and the strong tech resources, could you turn around the solution faster and cheaper? My personal experience with tech support from various companies is that all but the simplest problems are beyond their ability to help. And the turn around time is usually slow. I think a lot of times tech support agreements are like insurance. You feel scared enough that you have to have it but when you need it, you find out that it does not really cover what you thought.

I think at the end of the day having a strong core team is better than a large tech support contract whether you use open source software or not. But if you are using open source, then its an absolute requirement. Time will tell if the financial benefits are there as well.

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