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Old 12-04-2005, 04:17 AM   #1
ket
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BSA gets defensive in Malaysia over OSS


The trend of goverment agencies favouring OSS over proprietery products has prompted BSA Malaysia to remind the goverement agencies not to fall into the ideology trap over open source movement. Each products whether open source or proprietery should be weighed and considered on its own merits instead of favouring OSS as general rule, according to the BSA spoke person.




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Old 12-06-2005, 09:06 PM   #2
xanas3712
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Interesting ideology trap that is, which lowers costs and increases competition.
 
Old 12-07-2005, 01:20 AM   #3
ket
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Forgot to mention. BSA is software piracy watchdog funded by software heavy weights like MicroSoft and Oracle. Recently, their focus seems to have switched from software piracy to open source software movement. As a body that safeguard their master's commercial interest, this switch of focus says a lot of how they view open source movement as a bigger threat than piracy isn't it?


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Old 12-07-2005, 07:35 PM   #4
sundialsvcs
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Obviously when you hear someone talking you have to consider who's paying the bill ... but at the same time there is a valid point, well worth remembering, that OSS is not 'free', and not necessarily even 'cheaper' or 'better' than proprietary alternatives. That is to say, "there is no 'bright line rule' that hinges solely on the availability of source-code."

It's been my experience that VARs are always hungry, always looking to make their sale, and much too quick to severely under-estimate the actual costs of their deployments in order to get one. The "free beer people" being only the most-extreme example of this. I dunno if they're intentionally dishonest (I doubt it), it's just that maybe they don't quite know, themselves. Lotsa geeks, y'know, folks who really do this for fun, and when "the clock is ticking" they think "income" not "expense." It seems to me that, no matter what you do with a business that involves a computer in any way, you're gonna be dropping at least $10,000, especially in labor-cost, opportunity cost, and time spent by the customer's own personnel. License costs are only a drop in that bucket.

Personally, then, I feel a lot better going into a preliminary project-discussion with a customer (my first two hours are free, and I keep it to that) when I sense that the customer doesn't expect to get "free beer." I like to present source-code availability as a bonus, if it seems that the customer's situation would actually benefit from having it. But, more often than not, I don't.

If you say "source code" to some seasoned ITers, they think "escrow." Software companies often establish source-code escrow agreements with their big customers which guarantees that they'll receive an up-to-date copy of the source if the vendor goes belly-up. It's the last thing that the customer wants to have happen. The main reason for a "build vs. buy" decision going in favor of "buy" is that you're never going to have the "fix the program" monster land in your lap... So they think, somewhere in the back of their minds, "why are you proposing to use a product that either doesn't have a 'real company' behind it, or that you (or we) might have to fix?" Sure, you can counter that... but you'd really better be prepared to counter that! The risks of software are real. If a project goes south, the costs can be much worse than "100% sunk."

If the source-code is simply going to be an enabling technology for my company to use, then it might concievably be a factor for my strategy, and in that case it's not going to be something that I'll mention to the customer at all. After all, I may approach and use that product strictly from pre-compiled binaries; certainly I will do so if I can. And "fixing" a problem isn't going to be something I'll want to do at all, because I've had profit margins evaporate .. and go badly negative .. when faced with even one occurrence of that. It actually makes a lot of sense to buy a product from a company which makes it their full-time job to build and deploy their software: you get the entire benefit of their efforts while paying only an amortized portion of its cost.

My of course. And I think you all understand that I am not a "Windows-head."

Last edited by sundialsvcs; 12-07-2005 at 07:45 PM.
 
Old 12-09-2005, 04:46 PM   #5
ket
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Yes, risk awareness is the key. A software program manager must have clear vision of what are the critical areas in a software program. There are risk in adopting open source software, there are also risk in adopting proprietary software. By taking ownership of the source code, you are also taking the responsibility of fixing it should there be any problem, but you now have the means to fix it without having to depend on other people. With proprietary software, you have the luxury of hauling up someone to yell at should there be any problem, there is no guarantee that the problem will be fixed, but you will have someone to blame. So you have to decide what is important, having the means to fix a problem or having someone to blame and hopefullly will resolve the problem? I may sound a bit cynical here, but in some big organisation, the factors behind these two choices are very real for the program managers.



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Old 12-15-2005, 09:01 PM   #6
xanas3712
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I can't speak from a lot of experience here, but it seems to me if you go with proprietary software you are betting on the company never folding. If you go with something open source, you are betting on the project continuing, but even if it doesn't you can do something about it.

I think the idea that open source is 'free as in beer' should generally be dropped by most businesses. They should be taking part in development if they are going to be using an open source product. If they aren't taking advantage of their access to the source code I don't think they are getting much benefit out of it, and as has been said previously licensing costs for a large business are not the largest concern.

Both schemes here ultimately have a "tax" that goes along with them. Open source software requires that you have people on board who can continue to modify and update the program for the company. This means you have to keep people on board who know what they are doing. Proprietary software can be cheaper because many of these costs are managed by the company that makes the software. However, the "tax" on the end of proprietary software is the licensing itself, as well as the possibility that the company will fold.

I would guess that most smaller organizations would be best served with open software, and the larger organizations would be better served with having their software taken care of by another business. It doesn't have to be proprietary, but it probably should be something they are not managing/supporting themselves.
 
  


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