Quality, Agility – Open Source of course

Quality, Agility – Open Source is first choice

We’ve been inundated with ‘review of 2013’ newsletters in the last couple of weeks, and many have included the top four, seven, 10 or 26 reasons why companies/successful companies/developers/hippopotami choose Open Source software. Some are a bit niche, but two elements come out time and again: quality and choice (or freedom, if you’ve come over all Mel Gibson).

Quality, Agility – and money

This ComputerWorld article, 4 reasons companies say yes to open source, is a perfect example. Inevitably the money saving is mentioned and examples given of companies that haven’t had to pay for the software infrastructure so instead have been able to spend their budget on bespoke elements, but the article sagely draws a distinction between how an individual views open source and how a business views it:

When individual developers think of open source, they think “free.” And with good cause: Who in their right mind wouldn’t be interested in technology that they can get at no cost and use with few licensing restrictions?

When companies think of open source, these days they think “business agility,” a quality they increasingly value above all others in the fast-changing marketplace.

The same point is made also in this LinkedIn article: Open Source is Eating the Software World.

Code quality and business agility

The second section of the article is titled ‘Open source improves quality’, and that has to be one of the most significant factors for any business. When a company such as Bank of America builds open source elements into its systems, surely there can be no-one left (no-one with any credibility, that is) who seriously believes that open source isn’t a mainstream option? As the article says:

In the beginning, [Peter Richards, the bank’s managing director of global banking in New York] explains, enterprises worried that Linux was a hobbyist’s operating system, not one that a big corporation could depend on. But over the years, “the number of people who support Linux through peer review have made it into one of the better operating systems for corporations,” Richards says.

The article goes on to look at business agility, is the ability to respond swiftly to the needs of the marketplace. Ron Pitt of Level Head Solutions downloads code he needs rather than devoting time and resources to creating it. Some of it may not be perfect, but it’s vastly more time-efficient for him to run through it and make amendments that start from scratch every time.

In contrast to proprietary vendor timelines which can leave a business suffering while it waits for unpdates, the size and enthusiasm of the open source developer community underpins this business agaility:

“If you have to wait for vendors to make the changes you want, it affects the pace at which your company can innovate,” says Mike Milinkovich, executive director of Ottawa-based Eclipse

Taken together, the cost savings, swiftness of response and overall quality of code make open source a clear wimming choice for companies looking to gain the advantage.

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