The biggest misconception about open source? It's free

Dive Brief:

  • When companies start looking toward open source, there is a misconception that the technology is free, according to Lisa Caywood, director of ecosystem development at the OpenDaylight Project, The Linux Foundation, speaking Tuesday at Interop ITX in Las Vegas. Though core components are freely accessible, companies still have to build, test and integrate open source solutions at scale.

  • What helps drive open source adoption is not so much the associated costs, but rather the ability to customize and tailor solutions to a company’s environment, Caywood said. Rather than out of the box solutions vendors offer to fit most enterprise environments, companies can look at open source technology like a set of building blocks, components and pieces organizations can turn into something meaningful.

  • When moving toward open source companies "start out thinking it's [about] cost and then realize it's more about controlling their own destiny," Caywood said.

Dive Insight:

Mysticism surrounds open source as the next great foundation for technology across all levels of an enterprise. The reality, however, is that employing open source solutions does not free organizations from vendors or cost, according to Caywood.

But vendors can actually help guide corporate implementations of open source technology, serving as a conduit between the development community and the customized solution. A company looking to implement open source could find time and resources wasted if it does not partner with a guide.

At it's core, open source technology makes it so solutions work for the environment they're introduced to. Technology has matured to the point where companies no longer have to accept solutions that are scaled for a much larger environment. Though the fundamental components are the same, how a company can make it work in their environment is very different. 

Even the most proprietary companies have an open source underpinning, making open source the new normal in the enterprise. The user-driven innovation is too good to pass up, even for enterprise giants like Microsoft and Google

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Filed Under: IT Strategy Leadership & Careers
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