The word smacks of government, Matt distrusts government. It smacks of foreclosing choice, Matt likes choice, open source is all about choice.
But take the word mandate out of the equation and the clouds clear, the birds sing, and spring is in the air.
It really is all about saving. Save us money or your job is not safe. We can cut expenses by either dumping vendors or dumping you.
Fear rules the day and open source is great in times of fear.
Open source grew up in fear. The dot-bomb was actually worse for the software business than this current recession could ever be. People went from penthouses to their parents' basements with the speed of summer lightning.
And this is where open source was nurtured. With open source you can lose your job but you won't necessarily lose your work, or lose what you were working on. It's perfect for trying out ideas on a shoestring, even if you lack the money for shoes.
While we all know that maintaining, securing, and upgrading an open source installation still costs money, most of the bills flow only after the stuff is working. The main cost is time, a cost which is fungible, surprisingly so as we have learned in this decade.
When the boss "mandates" open source, in other words, they are merely demanding that you cut costs, and keep them cut. As you learn about the open source you install, moreover, your value rises, and this leads to job security.
Which in the pit of a recession is what everyone most wants.