Open source software are growing stronger and the community grows larger. Gartner has been predicting that by 2011, at least 80% of all commercial software solutions will include elements of open source. In U.S, the federal government is also starting to look into open source software. Recently, Drupal – an open source content management system – is used in US.gov.
Although open source software helps to reduce cost and there are many success story, it does not mean we can just pick and implement them. There are some consideration that we need to take note, especially when deploying it as part of the enterprise solution. Typically, I look into a few areas
- The size of the community – this is a good indicator on the adoption rate of an open source software. Typically the size of the community helps the team to grows the software. The open source team will have more motivation to deliver good quality software.
- The support – in some case, enterprise will look for assurance that there are organization that provide technical support. Having a proper support means there will be quick and easy access to help rather than waiting for the community to response. Having such support can also help to assure our internal security team in approving its usage.
- The roadmap – clear product roadmap is very important as it is providing clear picture of the team’s vision.
- Frequency of release – by looking at the release frequency, we are able to see how active the team in the development of the open source software. This will also give us assurance that the team will be able to provide fix and enhancement fast.
- Current version – it is good to wait for the open source software to be more stable and mature before adopting or using it.
- Documentation – how good the documentation is can help to reduce the time to learn the software. Sometime there are open source with limited documentation but have many books written about it, that can be a good substitute as well.
- Licensing – do read the license agreement and check whether or not your organization is acceptable to the license.
If you have more to add on, just drop your comment.