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Open Source IT

IT Leaders Now Expected To Be Open To Open Source (enterprisersproject.com) 74

StewBeans writes: Typically it's developers — not senior IT executives — who have been pushing their IT departments to adopt open source software, but the tide is beginning to turn. The Weather Company's CIO, Bryson Koehler, says if IT decision makers are not bringing up open source solutions to business problems, they will start to lose credibility as leaders. He references recent moves from major players like Apple, Google and IBM as evidence of open source going mainstream. As it continues to increase in importance, "companies that are still shying away from open are clearly being led by people who are probably not fully informed about the decisions they're making." Koehler hypothesizes that as these leaders are replaced by more informed decision makers, "expect to see a continued rise in the use of open source technology solutions, especially in modularized ways so that it's easier to replace one set of libraries or components in your stack with a new set as open source projects ebb and flow throughout their life cycles."
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IT Leaders Now Expected To Be Open To Open Source

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  • by bigdady92 ( 635263 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @05:37PM (#51084311) Homepage
    Which is all these Management types want is Solution(S) to problems they have and not "Well just buy off the shelf product X, it'll do" when there are alternatives available.

    Open Source solutions are not always the best solution but they are A solution to the problems. Remember you need someone that can tinker around with the software unless you are buying support from a vendor.

        Nothing worse than some PHB saying "It's free! No payments! Saves us tons of money!" and completely forgets that the only person that knew how to use the software at all was some intern that left a month after the project was done for a better paying gig somewhere else.
    • by JaredOfEuropa ( 526365 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @05:59PM (#51084501) Journal
      Don't be too scared of that intern leaving either. Just find someone else to support and maintain it. Do plan a little bit ahead, have some redundancy, and before you deploy such a solution to production, make sure the IT hygiene stuff is in place like backups that work, infosec, and some documentation. I've worked with a fair few systems that way, and it absolutely is possible to run them on a shoestring budget, even in a large corporation. One objection I keep hearing is: "How can we rely on a system with no support process and no SLA?" Answer: SLAs are cover-your-ass metrics for PHBs but they have very little to do with actual service. If you get the right tinkerers and interns, in my experience support from these guys is invariably better and faster than from the typical big outsourcing ITIL partners with CMM level 5000. Think about how much you really need that system and match that with appropriate safeguards and redundancy. And if a key guy does leave after a year, you'll have to scramble a bit to keep things going. That's when you'll often hear "How the hell can you manage a system like this, look at the mess we are in". Instead, think of the many, many thousands of dollars saved by keeping your support lean and using inexpensive, fit for purpose open source software.

      Of course this requires involvement and support from managers who actually understand a thing or two about how IT works.
    • by Zero__Kelvin ( 151819 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @06:40PM (#51084839) Homepage

      "Open Source solutions are not always the best solution but they are A solution to the problems. Remember you need someone that can tinker around with the software unless you are buying support from a vendor."

      I'm not sure if you are being disingenuous or you really believe that, but "tinkering around with the software" is an extra option you have with Open Source. It typically isn't a requirement at all. Perhaps you could give an example of Open Source software you think needs a special class of user called "tinkerer"? Can you name a FOSS tool that requires you to know software development to use? (Excluding, of course, tools specifically for software devs, like gcc, gdb, etc.)

  • If Microsoft is going the open source route, open source must be a good thing.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    "OHMAHGERD, what a paradigm shift that will have earth-shaking ramifications throughout the IT world!!!!!111111"

    Come on, guys...even when this sort of story promotes open source, it's still clickbait.

    • Every ... single ... fucking .. bastard thing StewBeans posts is clickbait for underpantersrejects.com

  • So when is free software going to properly replace domain controllers? Because that's the only reason why Windows Server still has some manner of prevalence in server sites. That and exchange.
    • Samba 4? And to that end my company uses AWS Directory Service, which the "Simple AD" is supported Samba 4 that hooks our servers, windows laptops and AWS workspaces to one non-MS domain controller.

  • by xxxJonBoyxxx ( 565205 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @05:58PM (#51084495)

    1) The CIO is saying this because they just got bought by IBM, who pushes "open source" until you look around and your whole operations is being run by H1Bs fresh off the plane who say "open source" to distract you while they Google for how to open a command prompt. http://fortune.com/2015/10/30/... [fortune.com]

    2) I agree. That's why I use a free, open API for weather instead: http://openweathermap.org/pric... [openweathermap.org]

  • I've always been open minded when it came to OS solutions. The big issue that I see from the management perspective is support for the product. I happen to have very limited software development experience in my crew, mostly systems management. If/when something breaks we need to be able to assure management that we have the resources or support contracts in place to get the issue resolved ASAP.

    I'm assuming that most other people are in the same boat. It's all about covering your butt.

    • What does 'support' mean to you? To me, it means 'if I find a bug that critically affects my business, someone will fix it'. For any given open source package, I can usually find a dozen companies willing to offer me that service, with varying cost / levels of competence. With a proprietary product, I can find at most one, and usually their 'support' option is 'please buy the next version, yes I know the UI has changed, just add it up to your retraining budget'.
      • What does 'support' mean to you? To me, it means 'if I find a bug that critically affects my business, someone will fix it'. For any given open source package, I can usually find a dozen companies willing to offer me that service, with varying cost / levels of competence. With a proprietary product, I can find at most one, and usually their 'support' option is 'please buy the next version, yes I know the UI has changed, just add it up to your retraining budget'.

        Here's the problem with using a 3rd party to fix bugs: These fixes may not be compatible with updates/upgrades from the original software source. I have run into these issues before with both OS and proprietary software. It was a real pain in the butt to resolve.

        I'm not saying that support contacts are 100% airtight. They're not. But when it comes to covering your butt from the less tech-minded people at the top of the company it is usually the safest option. There are always exceptions though.

  • Corporations are still profit-driven, but now sometimes the financial gain from a network effect [wikipedia.org] of open-source exceeds the economic rent [wikipedia.org] from licensing closed-source.

  • by pecosdave ( 536896 ) on Tuesday December 08, 2015 @06:15PM (#51084653) Homepage Journal

    I've been in I.T. since about 1997.

    I've been pushing for Open Source acceptance almost just as long.

    What has stood in my way? College grads. Turns out schools in the 90's and 00's were fed Microsoft money and free software to teach the likes of Microsoft servers and Front Page. When I mentioned the word "Linux" at a large oil company around a decade ago I was branded a heretic and nothing I said on any subject was taken seriously by project managers or developers who were on the M.S. Gravy Train during that era from that point forward - even when the subject was along the lines of electrical engineering and had nothing to do with software. Turns out I was right on that one too.

    Just like web developers from that era who didn't go to college wrote the best web pages because they shunned Front Page server/network guys who didn't go to college had a leg up from not being taught bad habits. Pair that up with the modern PC (not the computer type) culture being taught at school you're pretty much guaranteed a brainwashed in multiple ways spineless slug if you hire a college grad, whereas a self starter got a real education in the school of hard knocks.

    Those people like software without agendas.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The next step here, though, is that you'll be subject to the whims of the github crowd. Prepare for companies to be called to task if the programs they use do not reach an acceptable diversity quota.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by DogDude ( 805747 )
      When I mentioned the word "Linux" at a large oil company around a decade ago I was branded a heretic and nothing I said on any subject was taken seriously by project managers or developers who were on the M.S. Gravy Train during that era from that point forward

      Pair that up with the modern PC (not the computer type) culture being taught at school you're pretty much guaranteed a brainwashed in multiple ways spineless slug if you hire a college grad

      Call me crazy, but I doubt it was "Linux" that caused yo
      • Say what you will, buy the guy who hired me bragged that I was the best hiring choice he ever made, then proceeded to look at my ISP background as what made me good. He then started pulling from the former ISP pool with mixed results.

        I started out on an 8 man team that got whittled down due to structure changes and was working alone for a year at the end on that job. Say what you will about my personality but it got me employee of the month at a multinational this year as well as being featured otherwise.

    • by unimacs ( 597299 )
      Pretty sure MS Front Page wasn't part of many CS curricula.
      • No, but I never said CS. There are other parts of college that different software belongs to. I'm assuming the accounting students weren't walking around with soldering irons, but I'll be they were using Excel, and if we're limiting this discussion to the era I referred to Quatrro and Lotus 1-2-3 were not only viable "other" choices they were just as popular if not more so.

    • I have a similar story. A few years ago there was a call from the chief financial guy in one of the military branches for ways to cut cost for the 120k desktop computers they supply to all the worker bees. Of course, I suggested LibreOffice as a replacement for MS Office, saving some $90 per desktop. I even provided the rationale that LibreOffice at the time was really a stand-in for MS Office 2k3 (no ribbon nonsense) and said that the training provided to migrate to 2k7 would have been more expensive than

      • There is hope.

        My wife - who at 30 years old grew up during the worst of the M.S. propaganda years, that most people in her age range that realized it was B.S. propaganda went Apple (a better choice in some respects but worse lock-in and has it's own problems) has asked for Linux on her laptop. I'm going to put Netrunner Horizon [netrunner.com] on it tonight or the next night I have free time.

        My daughter who is 12 was given an HP Stream laptop with Windows 8 with Bing hated it with a passion. She had a Chromebook for scho

    • by sribe ( 304414 )

      Just like web developers from that era who didn't go to college wrote the best web pages because they shunned Front Page server/network guys who didn't go to college had a leg up from not being taught bad habits. Pair that up with the modern PC (not the computer type) culture being taught at school you're pretty much guaranteed a brainwashed in multiple ways spineless slug if you hire a college grad, whereas a self starter got a real education in the school of hard knocks.

      Maybe you should stop thinking of DeVry as "college" ;-)

      • I don't know much about DeVry itself, I remember the commercials and what have you.

        I will say I think a vocational school is a better choice than a full on university anymore unless you just happen to have loaded parents. Go in, learn what you need, get a job, get out, get productive.

        If you want a college education I think it's better to wait until you're actually productive in your chosen field then get the degree when you're ready to become management. It also gives some of the brain washing and cultish

  • 2 Years ago I convinced my IT manager to let me implement the FOG project for our System Imaging on site. Its been the best decision we've ever made, and because of that I was able to convince him to donate a good chunk of change to the group. Now, whenever I have an open alternative to a problem, he has no problem with saying "lets test it first, and we'll see".
  • Sounds like someone has confused the difference between bringing in open source systems / platforms and dumping your closed source project into the open ecosphere because you've lost your interest or developers.
  • In the short term, doing the closed source thing can benefit you vs your market competitors. Most of the time, however, the needs of market economics force design decisions away from what is technically optimal. Dosing up on stims gives you a short term boost, but eventually you have to pay the price. Heres to the hope that business leaders learn to kick this habit.

  • Open source software is completely forbidden.

    Even existing open source products are being replaced. Apache and Tomcast servers are being replaced with Websphere servers. Mediawiki is being ripped out and replaced with Confluence. Virtualbox replaced by Vmware. MySQL by Oracle or MS SQL.

    I even had to uninstall Notepad++ and replace it with a commercial text editor. If we use any perl or python, it needs to be ActiveState with a valid commercial license.

    The only thing we still run that is open source is

    • Why?
  • What an idiot. How did he get that job?

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