For those of us who toil in IT, the puzzle that open source represents really is just a new version of the choice to build or to buy. Open source offers a “middle” way, a way to acquire technology that is almost built, without having to buy.
However, choosing to use open source changes a company that takes up the challenge, which is perhaps its biggest reward. Building the skill to handle open source empowers a company to save money, attract more talented employees, gain more leverage when negotiating with vendors, and, most of all, better meet the needs of a business. This final chapter will take a look at important issues that will arise in choosing to use open source, and the way an IT department will be transformed once that choice is made.
One of the strongest objections voiced regarding the use of open source in the enterprise is the lack of “one throat to choke.” This concept refers to the accountability that commercial vendors have for solving problems with their products. IT departments get a feeling of comfort from knowing that if anything goes wrong with a commercial product, they can always call up the vendor and get some sort of assistance, or at least have someone to yell at. Oh, and let’s not forget, having someone to blame. Commercial open source support companies think they will be successful because they will become the “one throat to choke” for open source.
Examined closely, one throat to choke is a pathetic form of recourse for ...