Admit it. When you read that headline - "Gartner: 85 percent of enterprises using open source" - you assumed that was a good thing, right? Who's afraid of enterprises saving a lot of money and getting much more flexible IT for their IT budgets?
Gartner, apparently. According to Gartner, that widespread adoption is cause for alarm, as Glyn Moody rightly notes (and pillories). Somehow, Gartner assumes that if 85 percent are using open source and 69 percent don't have a formal open-source management team, the world is going to end.
As Moody notes, however, IT organizations have virtually nothing to worry about when adopting open source:
"About a dozen times a year," [Software Freedom Law Center general counsel Eben] Moglen says, "somebody does something [that] violates the GPL. Most of the time, they're doing so inadvertently, they haven't thought through what the requirements are. And I call them up and I say, 'Look, you're violating the GPL. What you need to do is this. Would you help us?'" The answer is invariably yes, he says.
So the reality of the situation is that the worst you are likely to get is quick phone call from Moglen....Here's the truth, then: there are no "huge potential liabilities" involved with free software. It's very hard to infringe, and very easy to sort things out.
I think it's more likely that Gartner's biggest concern is that open-source software firms (and communities) pay it little money for its research. The biggest danger from open source may actually be to Gartner's P&L statement, not to the enterprises that adopt open-source software.
After all, as IT Pro reports, the Gartner study also indicates that open-source software "is being used for mission critical processes as often as it is for less business-necessary functions." In other words, more of the world relies on software that brings Gartner roughly $0.00 in analyst fees.… Read more