Can Open Source gain Enterprise traction through the back door?
NB: What follows is pure opinion and based on no actual metric
As we enter the final stages of the Lift 1.0, I cant help but reflect on open source, the enterprise, and how actions taken by communities that create great projects like lift ultimately have a real and tangible benefit to companies.
For a lot of organizations, open source software is generally seen as too much of a “risk” as their is no official support for products blah blah blah. However, it appears to me at least, that more commercial grade systems are having their open APIs integrated into OSS by the communities that power them, we are indeed seeing OSS adopting enterprise, rather than the other way around. This trend appears to be growing at a pretty quick rate with tools like SAP, Oracle and Salesforce.com (all mainstays of enterprise systems) being integrated in lots of different environments and OSS - for instance, Rails integration for salesforce, oracle middleware drivers for PHP etc etc etc.
I then got to thinking - where the hell did all this integration come from? More than likely, it came from guys and girls who were hacking this stuff out with tools they would usually have access to in a enterprise environment (at the workplace). That to me appears to be a fairly sensible rational, now for the “why”…
This I fear is a little more complicated - perhaps those hackers wanted to play with it? Perhaps it was a pet project (a la google private projects)? Or maybe something else entirely? Whatever the reason, the fact remains those tools exist. Now, the really interesting thing I believe to be about this is that the next time those same developers (and perhaps their co-workers) need to complete a project, what tools might they choose to use? Something that they need to write from scratch…? or something they already made in their spare time for that OSS framework or such?
With platforms such as the JVM welcoming technologies like Scala, that still run on the same infrastructure yet can have a totally different code design, I think we might see more and more OSS “leaking in through the backdoor” into the enterprise? OK, yes, its true that most large dev environments have equally large teams to manage all the accompanying bureaucracy, but I think this type of backdoor behavior might well find traction in the SME arena and give birth to a new erea of OSS coding in the enterprise.
Whatever happens - I for one really do hope that SME and Corporate companies open their eyes to what comunity powered development has to offer.
Stop seeing the risk, and start appreciating the possibilities :-)
Over and out.