Richi Jennings

Gartner forecasts yesterday's weather (and dragonslayer)

September 21, 2007 6:37 AM EDT
Far out! It's Friday's IT Blogwatch: in which Gartner "predicts" that you're going to use open source software, "Whether you like it or not." Not to mention killing dragons with code...

Jon Brodkin reports:
You can try to avoid open source, but it’s probably easier to get out of the IT business altogether. By 2011, at least 80% of commercial software will contain significant amounts of open source code, according to Gartner ... Even if they don’t plan to use software that’s fully open source, network executives should pay attention to this trend because the open source choices commercial vendors make can expose users to risk or create competitive disadvantages.
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[According to Gartner, ] Open source isn’t quite as good as some of its proponents would have you believe, and not as dangerous as some detractors might suggest ... The important thing is to plan an open source strategy, to set guidelines on where and when open source products are to be used. IT shops are scrambling to set open source policies, but almost no one has implemented one with any teeth, he said. It’s better to avoid open source altogether than to not supervise its adoption with something like a don't ask, don’t tell policy.
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Open source adoption decisions should be based on four factors viewed collectively ... whether the software fits its purpose ... whether the open source product is mature enough to provide an acceptable risk/reward ratio ... [your] technology adoption profile ... [and] whether the deployment scenario is mission-critical. [more]
Zack Urlocker adds:
Strong words, but backed up by good research and observations:
  • By 2011, Gartner predicts that at least 80% of all commercial software solutions will include substantive open source.
  • Open source is being used equally for mission critical and non-mission critical applications. Gartner's survey shows 49.7% of open source usage is being done for "mission critical" applications, as compared to 59% for proprietary software and 58.5% for internal development.
The overall theme of the conference has evolved this year from explaining what open source is, to how and where companies should adopt open source without getting burned. We're now in the "third wave" of adoption, which has moved from the emotional stage, to a second stage of realism and now a third stage about leverage. [more]
Patrick Ancipink asks if open source is, "Windshield or bug?":
I’m not sure if Mark Knopfler (of the band Dire Straits) is an IT guy, these lyrics ... relate well to what many think is happening with open source vs commercial technology: “Sometimes you’re the windshield, sometimes you’re the bug.”
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There are still commercial vendors and IT managers that are in denial about open source and the role it will play for their customers and for them–let’s call them the bugs. You don’t have to believe that open source is going to replace you, but you’ve got to be able to do the classic SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) on open source and plan accordingly. If it’s not already, it will have a profound effect. [more]
Bill McGonigle giggles:
Gartner has a knack for picking up on trends that are already well underway and predicting they’ll happen. I guess it helps with their track record.

So where’s my cookie for picking up on this 12 years ahead of Gartner? [more]
And alucinor yawns:
This just in from the Department of Duh, pointy-hair info for yesterday's trends muddled with last year's understanding of them. [more]
But maceto opines:
The difference between you and Gartner: your boss listens to Gartner. [more]
The IT Guy muses:
Open source translates to reduced cost. Open Source software is a great thing ... it leads to increased collaboration and improvement by individuals who otherwise wouldn’t be able to contribute due to those pesky little copyrights and source code they can’t see. But I’ll go up against Gartner’s research and argue that 80% wont be open source by 2011.
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Open Source’s greatest benefit is also it’s biggest pitfall. With everybody making their little contributions to software you end up with a mess of people contributing and they aren’t all working together. This giant developer network is something like a big tree. All the contributers started in the same place, the trunk but by the time you get to the top of the tree there are so many branches along the way it’s a logistics nightmare to try and offer support. Look at Linux it’s been around for a while and it’s completely open source. So why isn’t every IT department in the world running it on their desktops? Corporate open source companies like Red Hat and Suse offer paid for support. The catch, the support is more expensive than traditional Windows/Apple solutions. That puts us back to the reason why we bought open source software in the first place, the price. Oh and by the way Red Hat and Suse don’t exactly give the corporate software away either.

So as the head of an IT department why would I chose a harder to maintain, more expensive product? Open Source tools make it cheaper for very experienced home users to accomplish goals that would cost many thousands of dollars in a windows/apple environment. In the IT Department though they are used few and far between. [more]
But Orange Crush is hungry for more:
I just bought lunch at the cafe downstairs. The salad I'm eating is fully "open source" and I have plenty of know-how and experience to make my own salads by growing the component vegetables in my garden and bring in my own lunches for little if any money.

For my money, I get "ready to eat" convenience taking only a few minutes of my time and full product support--if it's not to my liking, I can take it back and get it fixed.

Open Source != written by anti-commerce hippies. The software may be free, but there's plenty of money to be had providing and supporting solutions. [more]
FatMacDaddy sounds a warning:
This is the Gartner Group we're talking about. The only thing that amazes me is that anyone still pays them any attention at all. I still have some presentation materials around here somewhere where they warn that 30% of US businesses will fail due to Y2K problems. [more]
Buffer overflow:
Around the Net Around Computerworld Previously in IT Blogwatch
And finally... Killing dragons with code
Richi Jennings is an independent analyst/adviser/consultant, specializing in blogging, email, and spam. A 20 year, cross-functional IT veteran, he is also an analyst at Ferris Research. You too can pretend to be Richi's friend on Facebook, or just use boring old email: blogwatch@richi.co.uk.