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« Microsoft's latest 10-K report... fearing security lawsuits? | Main| Book Review - Object-Oriented Analysis And Design by Mike O'Docherty »

Book Review - Open Source For The Enterprise by Dan Woods and Gautam Guliani

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All too often, the discussion about using open source software in an organization takes on an emotional or political tone.  And since most information about open source decisions tends to feed that emotion, it's nice to find a book that tries to look at the subject from a rational perspective.  This book does a very good job of that...  Open Source For The Enterprise by Dan Woods and Gautam Guliani.

Contents:  The Nature of Open Source; Measuring the Maturity of Open Source; The Open Source Skill Set; Making the ROI Case; Designing an Open Source Strategy; Support Models for Open Source; Making Open Source Projects Easy to Adopt; A Comparison of Open Source Licenses; Open Source Under Attack; Open Source Empowerment; The Open Source Platform; End-User Computing and the Desktop; Open Source and Email; Groupware, Portals, and Collaboration; Web Publishing and Content Management; Application Development; Index

As I stated above, open source technology books (covering the topic as a whole, not individual projects) tend to be "rah-rah" in nature, pitting the plucky open source alternatives against the big evil proprietary software companies.  While I may just happen to lean in that direction, it's not very helpful if you're trying to make a solid business case for adopting a corporate open source strategy.  You need to concentrate on risks, financial return on investment, support issues, and all the other things that apply to *any* software used in your organization.  Woods and Guliani do a very good job in aiming for, and hitting, that target.  While they believe in the promise of open source, they give the reader some solid tools to judge whether a particular open source alternative is worthy to explore.  For instance, some open source projects take off and soar, while others languish with no activity after a few months.  By checking release levels, discussion boards, documentation quality, etc., you can mitigate the risk of committing to a project that doesn't continue to grow.  Conversely, if you find a project that addresses a need but may not be overly active, they provide guidance on what type of skill base you'll need to have or acquire to take the development in house.

Open Source For The Enterprise is one of those books that you should see in a number of organizations, helping management and techies come together to make rational business decisions that benefit the company and not someone's resume.  Very good material...

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Thomas "Duffbert" Duff

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