Why Open Source Software Sucks!

>> Thursday, August 27, 2009

As an Enterprise Architect who is savage in evangelizing the merits of free and open source software within the enterprise, I worry about others jumping on the open source bandwagon and committing several fatal mistakes. For the most part, open source software sucks. The enterprise needs to consider the following truths about free and open source software.
 I am relaxing at home with my feet up on the couch brainstorming how open source projects I like such as Liferay (Enterprise Portal), Mule (Enterprise Service Bus), Drools (Rules Engine) and Magnolia (Content Management) could prosper. I came to realize the reason that these products are widely used but also relatively unknown is that they require those who truly understand technology (Not all IT employees understand IT!) for installation and support. The open source community is very strong at writing code but needs the assistance of those within Fortune 500 corporations with the other aspects of making open source software sustainable.

A simple truth is that writing documentation does not make endorphins flow. Maybe if those within corporate America considered free software as in freedom (rights and responsibilities) and wanted to make sure their investment in open source technology was sustainable they could have their employees contribute time and give back to the community by writing documentation. Good software's main problem is the lack of good documentation.

What if Enterprise Architects that worked for Fortune 500 enterprises took on the task of organizing usability studies, doing triage on bug reports, helped create bulletproof installation routines or guided open source project leads on creating friendly user interfaces, would both parties benefit? The answer to this question is patently obvious!

As I walk the halls of my own employer, I see the richness of having a diverse culture. We have individuals that speak a variety of beautiful languages such as French, Japanese, Spanish, German, Italian, Arabic, Hindi, Mandarin, Urdu, Tagalog, Vietnamese, Portuguese, Hebrew and Tamil. Open source projects could benefit by having those within corporate America provide translation services in native tongue.

The only way for open source software to not suck is by having enterprises acknowledge that the word free is not free in terms of price but free as in freedom and comes with rights and responsibilities. Enterprise architects fulfill your duty...

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