In Part 1 of this series, I explained my reasoning behind creating an open source strategy. In Part 2, I will discuss our progress. But before I start, here are some predictions from Gartner:
- By 2010, 75 percent of mainstream IT shops will have a formal open source acquisition policy in place.
- By 2008, open source will compete with closed source in every infrastructure market.
- By 2010, mainstream IT shops will consider open source for 80 percent of their infrastructure software needs.
- By 2010, mainstream IT shops will consider open source for 25 percent of their business software needs.
There is a lessoned learned here. Since the company as a whole still has not fully embraced OSS and still looks at OSS as the red headed step child, individuals have gone into stealth mode and started assembling a massive inventory of products that help them get there job done at a very low cost. What I found out is that we have a lot of duplication of products including various different versions. Some of the products are best of breed while others are questionable. If there is ever a need of a strategy, the time is now! Since we rely so heavily on OSS, we must embrace it as a strategic part of our enterprise and put the necessary governance around it. This takes us to step two of our strategy.
Today we spent a couple of hours with Sourcelabs, an open source service provider. This was another eye opening event for me. I knew open source service providers provide support for a wide range of OSS products. But here are a few things they do that I didn't know:
- Stress test and certify OSS products
- Contribute code to numerous OSS products
- Provide a one stop self service portal with information on numerous OSS products, including patches security alerts, product roadmaps, known issues, etc.
- Provide advice and guidance for product evaluations
- Assist in the creation and/or validation of your Open Source Strategy
- Fix product bugs and submit to the product's community for the next patch or release
- Provide certified Java middleware suites
- Provide open source policy and process best practices
So much for the myth that you can't get support for OSS. So to recap where we are with our strategy:
- Step 1 - create an inventory
- Step 2 - educate IT - this started today with our discussion w/Sourcelabs