IDC lists top 6 myths, realities about open source

Summary:What are the top 6 myths? That open source software will enter every market, is inherently innovative, it improves faster than commercial software, that it has less lock-in, that it's free and that it has little benefit if one is not involved in the community. IDC calls these ideas "myths" but acknowledges there's more than a grain of truth to all of them

At its Directions 2012 conference in Boston today, IDC revealed the top 5 myths and realities about open source software.

The first myth is that open source will take over the world, or in the words of IDC, that OSS will enter every market.

Here's IDC's take:

"There needs to be a need; a perception that proprietary solutions are  inadequately serving the market, and a developer community willing to reinvent software solutions.

The second myth identified by IDC is that open source software is "inherently innovative."

"In the past OSS rarely created a new markets; instead replicated existing solutions. That is increasingly not the case today with OSS."

3. Another myth, IDC says, is that open source software improves faster than commercial software. In many cases, it's true, but that does not mean that the way it is delivered or packaged to enterprise customers makes it useful, the market researcher claims.

"True; there are releases daily, weekly or monthly. The question becomes how much change can you quickly consume?"

4. One predominant notion about open source software is that it has less lock-in than proprietary solutions. Yeah, but.....

"True to a point; but there’s always some lock-in. Lack of strong lock-in is challenging for commercial open source products."

5. The fifth myth is that open source software is free, or at least much cheaper. IDC contends that the pricetag is but a small reflection of the cost and that customers must look at the entire lifecycle of each and every application before determining if it will save or cost their IT department.

"Not always. Try-before-you-buy is great, but total cost of ownership therefore includes deployment costs, long-term management/user support, downtime costs, more.

6. Many customers and vendors believe they need to actively participate in an open source community to truly benefit from it. The good news, IDC claims, is that it is not true. Consider large projects like Linux and Hadoop, which provide big benefits to the masses.

"While it is better to be in touch with the community, it is not mandatory that users contribute code or function as testers," IDC maintains.

What's your take?

Topics: Open Source

About

Paula Rooney has covered the software and technology industry for more than 20 years, starting with semiconductor design and mini-computer systems at EDN News and later focused on PC software companies including Microsoft, Lotus, Oracle, Red Hat, Novell and other open source and commercial software companies for CRN and PCWeek. She receiv... Full Bio

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