Chapter 3. The Open Source Skill Set

In Chapter 2, we determined how to evaluate the maturity of an open source project. In this chapter, we look at what an IT department must bring to the task of using open source. Making open source a key part of an IT infrastructure involves a commitment to acquiring and maintaining a certain set of skills. The exact skill set for any open source project depends on the maturity of the technology used to build it, how well it matches the needs of an application, and the importance of the application in an organization.

The last chapter showed clearly that all open source projects are not created equal. At the most mature end of the spectrum, using open source is pretty much exactly like using commercial software. Mature open source projects offer everything commercial products do, plus the benefits of a thriving community, online resources, and a fully developed ecosystem. At the least mature end of the spectrum, open source projects can be little more than an idea, and some code that partially implements that idea. Using this sort of open source means, in effect, that you’ve joined the development team.

Choosing the right open source to use in an enterprise depends on the skill level of the company’s IT department. Beginners will be able to use only the most mature open source. As an IT department’s skill level increases, more and more value can be found in all sorts of open source projects.

The way that open source will be used is also key to understanding ...

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