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LESSON - Dispelling Open Source Myths and Prejudice

By Yves de Montcheuil, VP of Marketing, Talend

Open source software, no matter its category, is still fighting prejudice in the business environment, despite an influx of successful adopters who support its worthiness. What is more surprising is that these misconceptions contradict everything that open source software stands for, and its true benefits are yet to be recognized.

Many companies are considering open source solutions as they hand over large amounts of money, year after year, on traditional software solutions. Open source is clearly making its way into the mainstream, offering the same power and reliability as expensive, proprietary software at dramatically reduced costs.

Lessons have shown that customers tend to use open source data integration software for smaller projects at first, quickly become convinced that open source is the way to go, and then roll out additional projects. Though IT still fights misconceptions that open source software is insecure and carries many hidden costs, these myths are still unproven and unfounded.

Licensing and security. The old myths that tout open source as software developed by anonymous communities that cannot be trusted is obsolete. In reality, the bulk of the software is developed by a team that leverages open source as their platform for development and is engaged to check the quality of any piece of software before it gets integrated. This practice ensures that all development complies with security and licensing requirements and the company’s objective, and that the vendor is accountable for the software.

Flexibility. There is also apprehension that open source software isn’t flexible and scalable enough to support established standards. This could not be further from the truth. Open source software proves to be generally more flexible than proprietary software. The community acts as a giant beta test and each developer has a different system configuration. If a function or interface is missing, experienced programmers can add it, thanks to the open architecture of the community. Hundreds of additional inputs verify that open source is a valuable method for advancing technology.

Hidden costs. There is a misconception that open source software is not really free for businesses due to hidden costs, including hidden administration fees and downtime caused by a lack of support.

Of course, nothing is entirely free. While no licensing costs will apply, the deployment and maintenance of any software must be performed by IT staff, and the hardware must be provisioned. However, these costs are still significantly lower than proprietary solutions. Even with the commercial version of open source data integration software, 80 percent savings are not uncommon. The licensing costs of existing solutions can also be reduced substantially through the complementary use of software, so that overall IT costs can be reduced on an ad hoc basis.

One thing is clear: The myths that have evolved are due to a lack of understanding and the fact that open source software is still new to a number of industries. Despite this, there is validation to support the statement that open source is now on par with proprietary software.

To remain competitive, it is paramount that IT managers consider open source software when reviewing new technologies. There are many positive case studies on open source implementations that highlight the benefits companies are realizing, and it is helpful to review and comprehend them. Breaking down the barriers to open source adoption will play a vital role in the development and future of the technology.

For a free white paper on this topic from Talend, click here and choose the title “The Top 10 Reasons for Choosing Open Source Data Integration.” For more free white papers, click here.

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