"Count what is countable. Measure what is measureable. What is not measureable, make measureable." -- Galileo

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Open Source Alliance in the News

Today there's a bit in the news from OSA. Here's a quote from the article in Yahoo!News, which is just a repeat of the material in PC World:

Participants cited a variety of interoperability scenarios and concerns, including single sign-on for identity management.

Another involved user interface interoperability. "A lot of people try to plug open-source projects into an enterprise portal, and they want a unified look and feel," Sartorio said.

Customers also cited cross-platform portability and data integration challenges.

In addition, the study found that:

-- Lower up-front cost was the most important driver for adoption of open-source products, but this was tempered by concerns that spending on support and services would be greater. That feeling in turn was mitigated by a belief among respondents that open-source products will become more mature over time and easier to support.

-- Few customers cited the ability to customize source code as a selling point for open-source applications, preferring instead that it handle their needs out of the box.

Its particularly odd to me that customers want out-of-the-box solutions. While I'll admit I'm always happy when I find a product that does exactly what I need Plone to do, more often than not, we're off to UML and ArchGenXML for a custom component. One size does not fit all.

Anyone interested in this should track down the OSA material at http://tinyurl.com/2884eh. There OSA states:

The top criteria were (1) total cost of ownership, (2) whether the solution meets requirements and solve business problems, (3) the vendor’s ability to support them and (4) the ability to interoperate with their existing environment.
Customers were generally satisfied with the first two items, which should have been a no-brainer -- open-source by definition is lower cost (unless someone is cooking the books on total life-cycle costs) and requirements-driven criteria should be a certainty. Vendor support and interoperability come in 3rd and 4th, but appear to be the discriminators.

The Plone community and support we'll save for another post and today I'll concentrate on interoperability, since that is the MSM's big thrust. OSA identifies six issues with interoperability:

  1. Single signon -- done.
  2. Data integration -- need to research deeper into the report on this topic.
  3. Portability -- done.
  4. UI customization and portal integration -- no problem.
  5. Content management integration -- I'd love to see an easier way to get two-way synchronization between external RDBMS and Archetypes.
  6. Component compatibility -- one of the areas where Plone 3rd party developers excel but could still improve.
Plenty more good stuff in just the 11-page summary report, but that will have to wait for another day.

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