Yesterday at the Open Source Business Conference in San Francisco, Dr. Bob Sutor, vice president, Open Source and Linux, IBM Software Group, presented a keynote address that examined key issues that users should think about when considering adoption of open source solutions.
Sutor provided a snapshot of some of IBM's history and experience with open source software, starting in 1999 when the company formed the Linux Technology Center. IBM contributes to more than 150 OSS projects, and IBM itself leads more than 80 OSS projects. The talk was titled "Asking the Hard Questions About Open Source Software" and its objective was to get people thinking about what they must consider when thinking about adopting open source.
Businesses have had many years of experience in acquiring software directly, on hardware, in services engagements, and through system integrators, but as more organizations consider using open source software, they must hold all acquired software to the same consistently high standards regarding quality, security, performance, and value for money spent in acquisition, support, and maintenance.
The discussion was broken down by topics, including such issues as Quality and Architecture, Founders and Contributors, Community Governance, Intellectual Property Licensing, Legal Controls as well as others. "There is no magic wand to help companies adopt open source," Sutor concluded. "Open source software is, after all, just software, and as such must undergo the same scrutiny as any software considered for enterprise use. Weigh the benefits and the risks, and may the best software win."
A copy of the slides used in the presentation is available on Dr. Bob Sutor's blog.