Looks like Microsoft's FUD campaign against Linux and open source is paying off, according to a new IDC study. Matthew Lawton, director of IDC's Worldwide Software Business Strategies Group, revealed some interesting tidbits from the non-public study in a conference call this week:
The potential for copyright and patent infringement is the No. 1 inhibitor right now for organizations in adopting more open source software in their organization. Close behind that is the availability of support.
However if you keep reading, the IT end users who were surveyed, said that cost and functionality could outweigh these concerns.
To the extent that open source software saves end users money, they're all ears and their adoption and deployment behavior suggest that they believe that they can save money with open source software.
Users were most interested in functionality, scalability, and reliability (no surprise there). Availability of source code, and the ability to modify it, was far less important to this audience than cost.
Opinion The open source community should ignore FUD campaigns as much as possible, since trying to debunk them only gives them more visibility and credibility. Instead, concentrate on showing users that open source can deliver what they want: software that does useful things, quickly, and without breaking. And when things do break, customers want to know that they'll be able to get the support they need to fix them.
While cutting cost is the eye-catcher right now, the "foot in the door" if you will, it's not a sustainable strategy to focus on that forever. The community needs to work hard to educate non-technical customers about the real value of openness and choice. That's the unique benefit that open source has which proprietary software can't match.