Over the last few days I had a few conversations with government and quasi government organizations in Europe that operate under some form of directive that promotes or strongly encourage the use of open source. Most of our clients are professionals in the IT departments, and in many cases they seem to barely stand the political decision of adopting open source. The question always revolve around what others have done, success stories, where open source is going, and so forth.
I told them that, although open source software (like any other technology) is not going to be the cure of all diseases, I can understand why politicians in the past made bold statements about switching to open source. In many cases, if they hadn’t, nobody in government would have looked at available alternatives to proprietary products. On the other hand, there is no reason to be “obsessed” with open source. The question always is: what is the most effective (combination of) sourcing approach(es) to get the job done? Where can open source software deliver value and when do proprietary software or custom development or (just to mention something fashionable) cloud-based applications make more sense?
I’d wish politicians to ask the same questions but – let’s face it – what political capital would they get by inviting departments to be cautious? The new generation of tech-savvy politicians around the world and their appointed officials now sing the benefits of cloud computing: like open source, it won’t solve all problem. But isn’t it cool?
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