Over the past twenty years, the open source movement has built up enough momentum to enter into the mainstream of business users. According to a survey by Forrester in 2004, a 60% majority of the surveyed 140 large companies in North America are adopting OSS, and half of these companies are using it for mission-critical applications.
The following articles describe some of the licensing models, strategies, challenges, costs, risks and benefits faced by the business managers of companies, both large and small, when they decide to adopt OSS over proprietary software in their IT departments. An OSS "User Adoption Checklist" is proposed, with the aim of providing a structural framework to this decision-making process.
Licensing Models - This article discusses the licensing models and legal representation available for both users and developers of open source software.
Business Strategies - This article discusses some of the business strategies used by firms engaged in open source activities.
Market Segments - This article discusses the division of the open source market into various segments, including hardware platform and devices, platforms, server systems, middleware, and client components.
Development Communities - There are thousands of open source projects around the world, organized around development communities. This article discusses some of the most important of these development communities.
Future Challenges - Large firms, the early adopters of open source products, have clear strategic reasons and enough resources to support open source software. However, in the mass market where in-house expertise is scarce and cost-savings are not clear-cut, adopting open source software can prove challenging. This section discusses some of these challenges.
User Costs - Many companies equate open source software as "free" software. The truth is that open source software is not free. This section discusses some of the costs associated with the adoption of open source software.
User Benefits - With the availability of more mature, robust and popular open source software, the user benefits of open source solutions are being increasingly embraced. This section discusses some of the benefits associated with the adoption of open source software.
User Risks - Along with benefits, the adoption of open source software is accompanied by potential risks. This section discusses some of these risks.
User Adoption Checklist - With the acceptance of open source software as a "good enough" solution and the perception of low costs in relation to its use, more and more firms are considering the adoption of open source software. This section presents an adoption checklist that can be used by a firm when it is considering open source solutions.
Business Models - This article discusses the differences between the proprietary software business model that creates "end value" in a closed source, proprietary code, and the open source software business model that creates "user value" in the software developers who write the code. The possible effects of the open source movement on proprietary software businesses are also discussed.