Book Review - Succeeding With Open Source by Bernard Golden
I finished reading an interesting book today called Succeeding With Open Source by Bernard Golden. If your company is trying to figure out how to evaluate the potential use of open source software, this would be an excellent guide to removing the emotional aspect of the debate.
Chapter list: The Source of Open Source; Open Source Business Models; Open Source Risks; The Open Source Maturity Model; The Open Source Product; Open Source Technical Support; Open Source Documentation; Open Source Training; Open Source Integration with Other Products; Open Source Professional Services; JBoss Open Source Maturity Model Assessment; Conclusion; Bibliography; Index
With the subject of open source software becoming more prevalent in corporations, it's often hard to separate logic from emotion. All the techies have strong religious beliefs on the subject. Executives are risk-adverse and want to have a "single neck to strangle" if something goes wrong. But yet, the ability to use free software that you can own and modify as needed can save huge amounts of money. How do you make a rational decision on an open source product? Bernard Golden offers a process called the Open Source Maturity Model that allows you to assess important key components of software (such as training, support, and integration) on a weighted scale based on what's important to your business. Based on how you see your company's relationship with technology (early adopter or pragmatic), you can then decide whether the software falls in a scoring range that is suitable for your needs.
In each of the chapters on the different assessment areas, the author does a good job in examining the different pros and cons of open source. For instance, documentation can be found in many different areas. There may be commercial books, forums, discussion groups, or official documentation from the vendor. These avenues can be examined to see how mature the product is in these areas, and then a score assigned. Taking this evaluation approach with all your software can eliminate much of the emotional debate and lead to well-reasoned decisions. The book uses the JBoss open source J2EE server software as an example throughout the book, so you get a feel for how this process really works. And best of all, all levels of staff will understand the material.
If you're having problems getting traction in your organization for open source usage, get a copy of this book and start a rational evaluation. It may be the missing piece you've been looking for.