Unit 8 Discussion 1: Using Community and Vendor Support for Managing Software
The pros and cons of Linux support provided by the open-source versus by vendors should be looked at with the strengths of each, while assessing your own needs.
To evaluate an open-source community here are a few things to consider:
* How large is the community? It is important to look at the number of developers and contributors to the code base, as well as user groups and events based around the specified needs, and are there training resources available?
* How frequently are new releases put out? Success comes from momentum and innovation, so look for communities that can put out important and well planned releases often.
* How advanced is this community? Look to partner with a community that has intelligent, motivated and innovative plans that are the same as you would. You want to make sure that the community is full of cutting-edge technologists challenging each other for mutual ...view middle of the document...
* Documentation – Vendors often provide up-to-date, well-written, and easy to use documentation because it is someone’s job to write it and keep it up-to-date for each release for version distributed.
* Accountability – “bugs” and defects are expected and are openly discussed as a risk of using certain products provided by vendors, but while in the open-source community you are generally on your own for any issues, commercial vendors typically warranty against flaws that can impact your organization.
* Mature ease-of-use – due to paying customers and a team of customer-facing sales people often pushing vendors into providing better user interfaces and driving the ease-of-use.
You can see the benefits and drawbacks to each supporting method (open-source versus commercial vendor), and there is no single right or wrong choices for all organizations. Rather, each organization needs to decide which strengths and weaknesses’ matter most for their unique situation.
For instance, if you’ll need to highly customize a package, it’s likely to be more expensive to customize traditional vendor-provided software (if it’s even possible). However, if you organization generally needs lots of training and support, traditional vendor-provided solutions are likely to be a better fit. When it all comes down to the wire, open-source and vendor-provided aren’t so different. It’s critical to look at the features, attributes, and costs for each, and then weigh the unique benefits each model can bring. By choosing an open-source system, you are tapping into a community of peers and taking more control of your system or software destiny, but you are also choosing a course of action that will require a different mindset and perhaps more work to support (down the road).
In the end, there is no easy answer. Open-source isn’t likely to be a free-and-easy cure of all your woes, but it’s certainly a viable option worth consideration. Vendor-supported solutions don’t have a monopoly on solid feature sets or good support, but they might be a faster and easier choice especially for simple needs.
Walpole, J., Herron J., Cambell, P., Murrain, M. (2011). Open Source vs. Vendor-Provided Software: Comparing Them Side by Side. Retrieved from http://idealware.org/articles/open-source-vs-vendor-provided-software