Open source is a model of software development that has been growing since the 1970's. It is a very effective model at producing high quality software. As the number of open source projects grew, along with the scope of what could be done with it, it attracted the attention of IT organizations, systems integrators, software vendors and other commercial consumers. These organizations identified a number of barriers that make it hard, and in many cases impossible, for them to adopt open source. The primary barriers are:
- Lack of formal support and services.
- Velocity of change.
- Lack of roadmap.
- Functional gaps.
- License types.
- Lack of endorsements by independent software vendors (ISVs).
These barriers are real and rational. Notice that all of the barriers listed above except 'Functional Gaps' are risk-related.
There are entire industries whose sole purpose it to provide risk management. When you look at the offerings of POSS companies you will see that many (and sometimes all) of them are there to help the consumer manage the risks of deploying open source software.
Professional open source companies usually offer some or all of these:
- Formal support with service level agreements (SLAs)
- Professional services
- Certified partners
- Certified software stacks
- Product management and roadmaps
- Advisory boards
- Closer functional parity with proprietary alternatives
- Business-friendly licenses
- Reference accounts, cases studies, and user groups