Open Tech Today - Top Stories

Friday, July 14, 2006

How Critical is Open Source?

If you ask the U.S. Department of Defense...

"OSS and open source development methodologies are important to the National Security and National Interest of the U.S."


Because, according to a new DoD report, open technologies ...
• Enhance agility of IT industries to more rapidly adapt and change to user needed capabilities.

• Strengthen the industrial base by not protecting industry from competition. Makes industry more likely to compete on ideas and execution versus product lock-in.

• Enable DoD to secure the infrastructure and increase security by understanding what is actually in the source code of software installed in DoD networks.

• Rapidly respond to adversary actions as well as rapid changes in the technology industrial base.
This is the open source imperative. And it applies with equal force to every government and company. Despite the continued protestations of proprietary vendors, if your business model fails to incorporate open technologies, eventually your business will be at a competitive disadvantage.

You might as well tie one hand behind your back and use the other hand to shoot yourself in the foot.

Competing without open source ...
creates an arbitrary scarcity of ... software code, which increases the development and maintenance costs of information technology ... Other negative consequences include lock-in to obsolete proprietary technologies, the inability to extend existing capabilities in months vs. years, and snarls of interoperability that stem from the opacity and stove-piping of information systems.
The shift to more open approaches--using open standards, services-oriented architectures, open source style collaboration and innovative partnerships--must not only touch the ICT level in an enterprise. It must impact your business, information and service levels as well, and link them together.

SOA is not enough. The integration of service-oriented business, information and service design is critical to enterprise transformation, and competing in today's rapidly shifting marketplace and ICT landscape.

Yesterday's approaches to R&D, distribution and intellectual property served well in an industrial era; they are poorly suited for today's networked, high-speed, on-demand world.


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