Forrester: Open source lag behind Linux in the enterprise

Forrester: Open source lag behind Linux in the enterprise

Researchers find barriers to open source adoption

Interest in the deployment of open source enterprise applications is lagging far behind knowledge of and deployment of the Linux operating system, according to a survey from analyst group Forrester Research.

The findings, from Forrester's Enterprise and SMB software survey found that open source software is trailing Linux in production deployments, but the analyst group said there was considerable interest in open applications.

It noted that the barriers to open source adoption -- both of Linux and enterprise apps -- remain constant. "For Linux and all other open source software, service/support and security remain the two top concerns among enterprises. If open source is going to continue to be an important tactical tool, the open source ecosystem must address these concerns," Forrester said.

The survey of more than 2,500 software decision makers in the U.S. and Europe found that open source was still not a high priority among strategic software initiatives, "appearing to be more of a tactic for achieving the high-priority initiatives, such as implementing enterprise collaboration strategies, adopting SOA, and implementing Web 2.0."

It went on to note that open source options are available in all these areas:

-- Enterprise collaboration. Open source collaboration tools include Open-Xchange and Zimbra for email, Openfire and Jabber for instant messaging, WordPress for blogging, and TWiki and MediaWiki for wikis.

-- Web 2.0. Dynamic languages, such as PHP, Python, and Ruby play an important role in Web 2.0, along with open source Ajax frameworks and open source tools from suppliers such as Adobe and Laszlo Systems.

-- Service-oriented architecture. In addition to several open source ESBs, such as Mule, OpenESB, and JBoss ESB, there are many other SOA-enabling technologies from Apache Software Foundation, including ServiceMix, Synapse, and Axis.

Forrester urged CIOs and IT directors to be more aware of open source in their IT environment.

IT leaders' priorities for 2008

-- Implement an enterprise collaboration strategy: 49% (priority or critical priority)

-- Implement Web 2.0 technologies such as blogs, wikis, and RSS": 44% (priority or critical priority)

-- Adopt service-oriented architecture: 44%: (priority or critical priority).

"Forrester has reason to believe that many application development professionals are not aware of how much open source software is contained within commercially licensed products they are currently using.

"If you are using Java, then chances are that somewhere in your platform there is open source. Being aware of its presence will help you leverage the larger collection of open source software more effectively."

And the analyst firm also urged IT leaders to require full disclosure of open source components from suppliers.

"Software companies are not obliged to spell out what open source is used in their products as long as they comply with licence terms. But application development shops should ask for disclosure to assist them in their planning and design. This also gives them a clearer picture of the value they are receiving in their commercial licences."

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