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Open Source for the Enterprise by Gautam Guliani, Dan Woods

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Chapter 6. Support Models for Open Source

At this point in the book, you might have the impression that open source is something you must learn to do yourself. Indeed, open source comes with many more responsibilities than most commercial software, but it also comes with many more opportunities—if you have the skills to take advantage of them.

Entrepreneurs and venture capitalists have noticed that the number of people who can benefit from open source is far larger than the number of people who have the skills to do so. While this book argues that the best way to take advantage of open source is to embark on a program of institutional skill building, startups, systems integrators, and software, vendors are coming to market with different offers of support. Moreover, a growing number of consulting services are designed to close the skills gap required to overcome the lack of productization and bring the value of open source to a wider audience.

From an IT department’s perspective, perhaps the most attractive offer would be a fully integrated open source package that is configured to meet the department’s precise needs. Do not hold your breath waiting for such an offer. To make a business viable, open source support providers, like all other service providers, will have to create one offer that can be delivered at an attractive price to the largest number of customers. This chapter will examine the offers that are available on the market, their advantages and disadvantages, and how ...

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