Leveraging Open Source


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Open source applications are rapidly becoming a mainstream option in almost every area of the higher education enterprise. While we are all familiar with the term "open source" at this point, many of us do not really understand the details of how this model is fundamentally different from proprietary software. During this talk, we will discuss what open source really means, how open source licensing works, some of the major benefits of open source software, common myths about open source, where open source is being used in the enterprise, how open source affects the procurement process, and strategies for adopting open source applications into your enterprise.

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Leveraging Open Source

  1. 1. Leveraging Open Source <ul><ul><li>John A. Lewis </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Chief Software Architect </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Unicon, Inc. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>25 September 2008 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Brooklyn College, New York </li></ul></ul>© Copyright Unicon, Inc., 2008. Some rights reserved. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/us/
  2. 2. What Is Open Source? <ul><li>Lots of Different Terms: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Free Software </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Open Source Software (OSS) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Free/Libre Open Source Software (FLOSS) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>They all mean essentially the same thing </li></ul>
  3. 3. Major Organizations <ul><li>Free Software Foundation </li></ul><ul><ul><li>www.fsf.org </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Grew out of GNU community </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Promoters of GNU Public License (GPL) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Approves Licenses as “Free Software” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Open Source Initiative </li></ul><ul><ul><li>www.opensource.org </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Grew out of disagreements with GNU/FSF </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Less dogmatic / more practical </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Approves Licenses as “Open Source” </li></ul></ul>
  4. 4. Free Or Free? <ul><li>“Free” as if Freedom and Liberty </li></ul><ul><li>Think Free as in “Free Speech” </li></ul><ul><li>Not (necessarily) Free as in “Free Beer” </li></ul>
  5. 5. What Makes It Free? <ul><li>Major “Freedoms” of Free Software </li></ul><ul><li>0: Free to Run </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Anyone for any purpose </li></ul></ul><ul><li>1: Free to Study </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Access to see and modify source code </li></ul></ul><ul><li>2: Free to Redistribute </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Share binaries and source code </li></ul></ul><ul><li>3: Free to Improve </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Make it better for the whole community </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Copyright <ul><li>All FOSS licenses based on Copyright </li></ul><ul><li>Decisions used to be extreme: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Complete enforcement - “All Rights Reserved” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Put into public domain - “No Rights Reserved” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Open Source = “Some Right Reserved” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Publisher of open source retains copyright </li></ul><ul><li>Copyright holder can do whatever they want </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Do not have to follow terms of their own license </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Only those who receive software under the license are bound by it </li></ul>
  7. 7. Copyleft <ul><li>Requiring software freedom for derivative works based on free software </li></ul><ul><li>There is no requirement for copyleft in “Free Software” or “Open Source” – Copyleft is a separate concern </li></ul><ul><li>Two key dimensions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>when the copyleft requirements are triggered (usually redistribution) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How far the copyleft requirements reach (e.g. source files, compiled together, dynamic linking) </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Benefits Of Open Source <ul><li>Cost </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No License Fee </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Choices about Maintenance / Support </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>No Forced Upgrades </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Control </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Pick software and vendor separately </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Change vendor (or self-support) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Change the code - tailor it to your needs </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Community </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Collaborate with other users and developers </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Benefit from the innovation of others </li></ul></ul>
  9. 9. Build vs. Buy? <ul><li>Build? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Too expensive, takes too long, too risky </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Buy? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Big acquisition cost, vendor lock-in, no flexibility </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Open Source! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Quick and cheap to acquire </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Adaptable to specific needs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Free to choose service provider </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Leverage community momentum </li></ul></ul>
  10. 10. Enterprise Open Source Uses <ul><li>Infrastructure </li></ul><ul><li>Operating Systems </li></ul><ul><li>Databases </li></ul><ul><li>App Servers </li></ul><ul><li>Web Servers </li></ul><ul><li>System Monitoring </li></ul><ul><li>VOIP </li></ul><ul><li>... and more </li></ul><ul><li>Applications </li></ul><ul><li>Portals </li></ul><ul><li>Document Mgmt </li></ul><ul><li>CRM </li></ul><ul><li>Learning Mgmt </li></ul><ul><li>Email & Calendaring </li></ul><ul><li>... and more </li></ul>
  11. 11. Community or Commercial? <ul><li>Community Projects </li></ul><ul><li>Run by individuals, universities, research groups, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Comes out of finding “common cause” </li></ul><ul><li>Can have commercial providers </li></ul><ul><li>Linux, Apache, Mozilla, PostgreSQL, uPortal, Sakai, Kuali </li></ul><ul><li>Commercial Projects </li></ul><ul><li>Run by a company </li></ul><ul><li>Build a community </li></ul><ul><li>Marketing via downloads </li></ul><ul><li>De facto provider of all value-added services </li></ul><ul><li>MySQL, Alfresco, Zimbra, SugarCRM, Compiere </li></ul>
  12. 12. Who Uses Open Source? <ul><li>Almost everyone! </li></ul><ul><li>Federal and state governments </li></ul><ul><li>Colleges and universities </li></ul><ul><li>Major corporations </li></ul><ul><li>Small businesses </li></ul><ul><li>Non-profit organizations </li></ul><ul><li>Hobbyists </li></ul>
  13. 13. Open Source Myths <ul><li>Open Source ... </li></ul><ul><ul><li>is always more (or less) secure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>always costs less (or more) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>is always of better (or lower) quality </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>always has worse documentation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>is always hard to upgrade </li></ul></ul><ul><li>It Depends On The Project! </li></ul>
  14. 14. Do I Need Developers? <ul><li>No! (biggest myth in higher ed) </li></ul><ul><li>Major projects all have commercial service providers do handle your needs </li></ul><ul><li>Same services as proprietary vendors </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Training, consulting, support, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Other services not normally available </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Customizations, integrations, add/change features, accelerated bug fixes, etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>But you can use your own developers if you want – unique to open source </li></ul>
  15. 15. Service Provider Example (aka Shameless Plug) <ul><li>Unicon provides Open Source services primarily to Higher Education </li></ul><ul><li>Commercial Affiliate for Sakai and uPortal projects </li></ul><ul><li>Complete range of services: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Implementation Planning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Project Planning and Assessment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Installation / Configuration </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Branding </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Training </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Custom Development / Integration </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Hosting Services </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Technical Support </li></ul></ul>
  16. 16. Procurement Problems <ul><li>RFI, RFP, travel, demos, proof-of-concepts, pilots, meetings, schmoozing, etc. = High Total Cost Of Sales (TCOS) </li></ul><ul><li>Example: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>TCOS is $50K and vendor wins 1 deal in 3 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Company needs to recover $150K+ on won deals just to cover sales costs! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How? High 1 st Year License Fees </li></ul></ul><ul><li>But Open Source has no license fees! </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Open Source Vendors cannot respond to RFPs that treat software itself as capital acquisition </li></ul></ul>
  17. 17. Viscous Cycle Of Procurement <ul><li>Enterprise procurement has exacerbated this: </li></ul><ul><li>License fees + switching costs = 5+ years to amortize </li></ul><ul><li>Must choose carefully = more due diligence </li></ul><ul><li>Make vendors do the work (at their own expense) = higher TCOS </li></ul><ul><li>Drives up license fees to recover costs </li></ul><ul><li>Lather, rinse, repeat... </li></ul>
  18. 18. Procuring Open Source <ul><li>Need a new process! </li></ul><ul><li>No license fees + lower switching costs = lower risks </li></ul><ul><li>Select the platform yourself (or with help) </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Separate picking software from picking a vendor </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do simple evaluation & pick one or two candidates </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Do targeted pilot projects to prove they work </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Spend license fee money on your own people or on services providers for help </li></ul>
  19. 19. Questions & Answers John A. Lewis Chief Software Architect Unicon, Inc. [email_address] www.unicon.net
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