Big Vendors Lend Credibility to Open Source

Lora Bentley

Government agencies are no strangers to open source, according to an piece published today. At first blush, we imagined part of the attraction lies in cost savings, just like it does for many businesses investigating open source; however, points out we're wrong.


Government agencies increasingly turn to open source when vendors that they trust -- those that can give the agencies the level of support to which they are accustomed -- take on an open source business model or make open source a large part of their business. According to the U.S. Air Force's principal deputy assistant secretary for acquisition, the government notices when big name vendors that made names for themselves selling proprietary products opt for open source. "They wouldn't be moving in that direction if it didn't make sense for their businesses," he says. And if it makes sense for the likes of IBM and Sun Microsystems, it makes sense for the government.


Just as important, it seems, is the flexibility provided by open source systems. Using open source frees government agencies from vendor lock-in and the too-long software upgrade cycles that accompany proprietary vendors. Open source allows agencies to add functionality they need when they need it, the Air Force spokesman says.


The cost savings that most open source users expect is often not reality for government agencies simply because they're paying more for support than other open source users would -- both because their organizations are larger and because they are willing to pay more for support from big name vendors like HP, IBM, Novell and Sun.


Of course, as InfoWorld blogger Matt Asay notes, it doesn't hurt that several agencies are also "skittish" about Windows Vista.

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Mar 28, 2007 12:30 PM neville bradbury neville bradbury  says:
The pervasive nature of open source stacks and solutions having the credibility to be used by major organisations both tactically and strategically augers well for the movement in open source as a real competitor to the major software companies.The key for adoption across the spectrum is a much need awareness that open source does not mean "bad" software as is sometimes in the mindset of most CIO's we have talked to.Open source stacks and application solutions can be adopted with confidence based on the strength of both the support and services. This is now happening and professional services companies like ours (Opensoft Australia) are placed strategically in the key areas of business needs to adopt open source where it fits the right requirement.The most important aspect in my opinion is the need to assure organisations of the quality of the stacks and this can only be done with industry accepted methodologies such as OSMM and BRR. This balanced with the high calibre support and services provides the necessary platform to rival the major service providers. Reply

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