If this list seems long, remember that most of the elements represent time spent by an engineer to learn how best to use the software. In other words, the investment in open source is also an investment in increasing an IT department’s skill level.
The commercial analog to most of these costs represents renting expertise that does not leave an IT department smarter. Sometimes money is more important than the time it takes to solve a problem. But in general, it is hard to argue that creating a more skilled organization is anything but a net positive for an IT department.
As an IT department’s skills grow, more open source will become usable. The question then becomes which open source projects will provide the most benefit. In the next chapter, we turn to the issue of how to focus efforts according to a coherent strategy.