Open Source Is Catching On (No Matter What You May Have Heard)

This from Computerworld, February 20, Lack of Support Slowing Spread Of Open-source Applications.It seems that not having a room full of people speaking with thick, southern Indian accents makes open source have a “lack of support.” What’s sad is that this perception is from the “IT decision makers” according to this article. That means the folks with the checkbooks. It is sadder still that just because there’s no toll free number to call and talk to someone who is probably fresh out of college, and is clearly reading from a script (“thank you for those informations”), that means open source has no support.

Give me a break. Obviously these decision makers are out of touch. They’ve probably never used any open source products directly, and so have never seen how quickly forum-based support gets answers. Oh, and since the forums are searchable, there’s a knowledge base right there at your fingertips. My guess is they’ve never actually called a support line either (and so are unaware of how utterly abysmal most are).

So, what are open source boosters (like me) going to do about it? Well, just keep on keeping on. Preaching the word, man. Open source is the future. HP and IBM (among others) are getting it, and are supporting open source.

It’s time to whack the board room with a big board and get them on board. Yeah.


2 thoughts on “Open Source Is Catching On (No Matter What You May Have Heard)

  1. What a nebulous article. No software package names, no numbers, useless comparisons, etc. Sounds like the usual osscilation between “vendor lock-in/single point of contact vs best-of-breed/distributed support” banter. Whatever. I don’t see any useful information in this article for decision-making purposes, other than “if software comes from multiple providers then I have to manage multiple support contacts”. How is that different from supported commercial software from multiple providers? Remove the words “Open Source” from the article. Does the meaning change?

  2. Exactly, and what gets me is that the ones making the decisions don’t really understand how truly abysmal commercial support can be. Most of the open source packages I’ve worked with: Struts, Hibernate, Spring, MySQL, PostgreSQL, Tomcat, Jakarta Commons, etc. etc., have great forum-based support with answers coming (if your question couldn’t be answered by a search, or looking through the FAQ) within minutes, or a couple of hours. Compare that to someone making minimum wage (if even that, in the case of offshore support) reading from a script. How is that a “lack of support?”

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