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Open Source for the Enterprise by Gautam Guliani, Dan Woods

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Reducing the Skills Gap for Getting Started

The next step in productization is to make an open source project easy to use. This means automating as much of it as possible so that beginners can avoid as many complexities as possible.

Installation Scripts

Most projects come with some scripts that help unpack the project from its compressed form. Then, a README file explains the steps required to compile and install the project. This is where people with beginner and intermediate skills start to get nervous. Most of the time, they don’t know how to get the project from its unpacked state to a working state. Some projects don’t offer an installation script that can actually anticipate all the different settings and configuration options that might be needed to get a project running. However, if an easy-to-use installation script is available, beginners and intermediates will appreciate the quick start and it won’t get in the way of advanced and expert users.

Tools are available for making open source easier to install, such as RPM. However, the installers that come with open source software are rarely as easy to use as the ones on consumer PC systems. The easier that open source installers are to install, the easier it will be for users of all levels to use open source.

Configuration Tools

While installation is the process of fitting software into the environment in which it will run, configuration is the process of controlling the software’s behavior. Most software has a variety of mechanisms ...

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