IDC lists top 6 myths, realities about open source

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

TOPICS: Open Source

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?

Topic: Open Source

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  • What's wrong with Vendor Lock-In?

    Dietrich T. Schmitz *Your
    • OSS is a vendor

      Once you spend money to implement, you are locked in unless you want to spend the same money over again implementing another waste of time product.

      As they say in the North East US, I'm too poor to buy cheap.
    • Going with any vendor is lock-in

      It takes awhile to move from one solution to another so there is always a cost to choosing any vendor.
  • Really? you can do better IDC.

    You can't say it's a myth if you start your explanation with "True but....." or "Not always..." or "While it is better..."

    Your basically saying these are a facts with some exceptions.
  • The top 6 reasons why open-source software is still in existence:

    1) It's free.
    2) It's free.
    3) It's free.
    4) It's free.
    5) It's free.
    6) It's free.
    (That's free as in $0.00, not as a bird.)
    • Sigh, it's not really free

      Nothing is free. In a previous life I installed a Change Management package. For the company I worked for the annual license fees were $10K per year. Well worth it by the way.

      We spent five years beating developers into submission, digging projects out of the rafters and ensuring that the code was in the library.

      During that time we wrote many addon scripts, developed procedures and the rest. these were not free either. Our costs of labor and supervision were quite high in some cases.

      After I left, they migrated to a "Free" open source manager. The migration to the new tool, modification of procedures and issues caused by the migration all cost the business money. If the numbers I heard were correct, the costs of migration were will above the $50K license fees we paid over five years for an inferior package. (we evaluated it before I left, yes, it was inferior)

      All in the name of free.
      • Change Management?

        If your rational change management package was as intuitive as the one used by the last company I worked for, I can understand why the developers did not want to use it. It was the most non-intuitive piece of software that I used since I quit using card decks.
      • Who said anything about Rational?

        Just like Open Source bigots, jump to conclusions, make false assumptions, self justify and pat yourself on the back.

        No wonder there's no cost savings or innovation.
  • IDC has been following the recent political debates!

    "True, but, not always, sometimes, but not this time, but..."
    Spoken like a true politician!
  • Good assessment by the IDC

    I do not think that you could make a cogent argument against any of their key findings. I am approached by customers all the time who deployed open source solutions, only to find themselves inextricably linked to solutions that do not meet their business objectives.

    The Fundamentals of architecture do not change whether you use an open source stack or a "propietary" stack. If you pick the wrong solutions for the wrong reasons (i.e: "it's free") instead of finding out what the business actually needs, you will suffer for it.
    Your Non Advocate
  • Who cares about the myths? What are the facts?

    If you ask large enterprises they will tell you that there are many myths about open source even though they do not use it so much (or at all). Of course, such companies prefer to pay (a lot of money) to a vendor who can take the responsibility for the software they can not do business without. If a large enterprise has software problems they want to talk to the board of their software vendor, not to some open-source community.

    If you ask SMEs and ISVs they will ask for open standards and open source because they can not live with the lack of flexibility and lock-in of the proprietary software delivered by the big software vendors. An SME/ISV prefers open-source because it can not make profit when it has to give between 30 and 60% of the software revenues it makes with its solutions on top of the proprietary products of the big software vendors.

    So, who's right? - both sides... Those who are wrong simply approach the customer with the wrong offering and/or the wrong product story.

    BTW: IDC are in very close business relations with big software vendors like IBM and SAP. This means they have insight about the market perspective of these vendors and do special market research and reports for them... a fact that might line the dots for some readers.
    • The true third kind of lies

      Last time I heard about IDC, they were very close to Microsoft to report about software TCO for Russian schools comparing MS and GNU/Linux. The research was paid for by Microsoft. Guess who was the winner then?
      When people looked in their calculations they found some out-of-this-world figures for Linux. When IDC was asked to provide the sources of it, the company simply said that they used Microsoft's own data.
      Hence, "there are three kinds of lies -- lies, damned lies, and stat.. findings of ITC".
  • The ISV is the key for enterprise

    In most cases most of the time, there are OSS solutions. When there is a competent and ethical ISV the OSS solution works well with lower TCO. ISV is paid what would have been paid in license fees for a year. The ISV sorts through the myriad of OSS solutions the determine the best fit for the customer and then does a lot of trouble shooting and "hand holding" until all is up and running well.
    • Architecture is the key for the enterprise

      The ISV can help you define how you meet your architectural objectives, but they are never the key to your enterprise.

      This is the typical answer I get from solution oriented individuals. First, let's start with the solution (OSS), then let's find the problem that we can go fix with it. This is absolutely backwards. First, you define the problem you wish to solve. Then you figure out which solution or solutions best address this.

      Too many organizations think this way. "I want an productivity suite, and I want it to be Open let's roll out Libre Office". How about you define what you want the productivity suite for and what other systems you want the productivity suite to address first?

      That way, after you finished rolling out Libre Office for thousands of dollars of consulting fees, you will not circle back and deploy Excel because Libre office does not connect to your OLAP cubes or provide pivot tables.
      Your Non Advocate
      • poor consulting

        >>Excel because Libre office does not connect to your OLAP cubes or provide pivot tables.
        LO Calc has DataPIlot tables, olap cube is an exemplary lock-in practice.
      • No, strategy is

        Architecture is important, but strategy is the real need. If you determine what the problem is and then only look at the currently available solutions *you know about*, then you will keep coming up with similar answers, which are increasingly unlikely to be the best solution in a strategic timeframe.

        Strategic choices are about 5-10 year outlooks, not saying "look a hole, water is coming in", "quick, use your thumb to block the hole". That way lies drowning.
      • Architecture is Strategy

        Although architecture is an overused word, true Enterprise Architecture is Strategy. True EA has a 5 to 10 year outlook. It's not the individual parts, but the sum of the parts. It looks beyond simplistic statements like "OLAP cubes are exemplary lock-in practices" and determines what the enterprise needs with OLAP cubes and how the use of cubes help define the enterprise strategy for years to come.
        Your Non Advocate
      • portability?

        I deployed LibreOffice as _tool_ for spreadsheet application.
        Pentaho for BI

        I can't understand why people will use Excel as basic tool for their BI.
        I'm going to force all my users using Windows ( along with all tooltieties, antivirus anyone? ) and keep up with it ( upgrading as necessary )
        And keep up with MSO

        Make things portable. Data core should be accessible by anything we want.
      • Pentaho and LibreOffice are perfect example of poor coupling and cohesion

        One tool for BI, one tool for spreadsheets, probably a separate too for a portal, and a fourth tool to convert the BI and spreadsheet output into something that the portal can ingest.......OR --- deploy a stack with strong cohesion and loose coupling. "Portability" is less important of a concept -- in fact it is not a meaningful KPI in Enterprise architecture as coupling and cohesion are.
        Your Non Advocate
      • So is this what you prefer?

        - One operating system to keep up to ( including a must of upgrading your client hardwares at some points )
        - A bunch of "must-have" applications to keep them secure.
        - One tool for office suite which sometimes changes its closed format to force users for upgrading
        - One tool for BI which you have no control on it