Open Source Software Support “(Mis) Perception” Debunked…07.16.08

16 07 2008

I have foregone even consideration of open source ILS software for use at BHM fearing that the reaction of our IT Department would be that the support needed would not be there when needed.  This has been a great concern for me as well.  The argument put for by Nicole Engard’s post yesterday “The Curioius (Mis) Perception of Open Source Support”   http://www.web2learning.net/archives/1865 put me over the edge:

“Matt Asay always writes such great posts.

Forrester finds that European enterprises cite support as their biggest reason for not adopting open-source software. This has persisted for years, with support (or, a lack thereof) consistently listed as one of the top reasons that enterprises throughout the world avoid open source.

The ironic thing is that open-source companies primarily sell support, not software. So…while proprietary-software vendors sell licenses with support as an afterthought, enterprises don’t seem to question that they’re going to get support. At the same time, open-source companies sell support with licenses as an afterthought…and enterprise buyers worry that they won’t get support.

I’m just suggesting that stifling your company’s open-source adoption because of a perceived lack of support is silly and outdated. Welcome to the 21st Century. Open-source vendors provide support as good or better than their proprietary peers. Really.

When I teach my open source classes I always focus on this detail because I know that people worry about the support model for open source software. There is also a discussion going on a mailing list I subscribe to about this very topic…”

If I ever selected an open source alternative, however, I’m am confident I’ll still face an uphill battle convincing our current IT Dept. to accept it.

BTW, I never did hear back from our IT Dept. when I requested to know why our ILS software/server was down.

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