Open Source, The Double Edge Sword

I know this has been talked about a lot in the open source industry, but I’ve personally started to see concrete examples of it. Commercial adoption of open source software is a double edge sword. One the one side, it is great to have the flexibility to be able to take open source solutions, adapt them to your particular problem domain, and add the value of those solutions to your product. On the other side, it is a lot of work to do that, and in a commercial setting, lot of work == big expense.

And, of course, you really have to watch the pointy end of the sword that could kill your project, and I think that pointy end is unrealistic expectations. But, I think the industry is really starting to get that open source != free. And, unfortunately, I think a lot of it comes from war wounds, but the lesson is getting learned.

This does, however, come back to the software as a service story I keep blabbing about. Now, you can either hire and train people to do the work, or you can contract out to a services company that (hopefully) already has the trained people to do the work for you (hopefully) cheaper. It was pretty interesting then when I noticed a little-advertised feature of the Eclipse.org web site, the Services section. It lists a few companies that are offering services to the Eclipse community. It is unfortunate that there are so few and very few with a non-Enterprise focus, but the opportunity is there for those who want to take it.