Open source software's second coming in the enterprise

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Open source software is the primary enabler of developer tech populism. That is the one of the interesting conclusions of a new Forrester report, Open Source Software Goes Mainstream

Analyst Jeffrey S. Hammond spells it out below.

Developers have greater freedom to prove the viability of new innovative technologies than at any time in the history of enterprise IT.

Those who adopt OSS will forge ahead with their efforts and beg forgiveness from their managers instead of asking permission or twiddling their thumbs waiting for management to sign checks to ISVs. In doing so, they will increase the velocity with which they prototype concepts and retire risks.

As more organisations prove the viability of OSS, they will drive decision-making ever lower in shops that don’t get a proactive handle on controlling OSS acquisition. And simply banning OSS will become an increasingly untenable option.

The net result will reset pricing expectations in development shops and tilt technology selection away from single vendor stacks toward best-of-breed solutions at commodity prices — especially at the lowest levels of the application platform stack.

Hammond's thoughts, are based on results from a survey of more than 2,200 European and US IT decision makers, and he notes, "open source software (OSS) is a top priority for software development professionals in 2009." His best advice?

"Software development professionals at firms that are already using OSS should beware uncontrolled tactical use and develop sound OSS adoption policies. Those at shops that have not yet adopted OSS should leverage the current economic climate to force a discussion about the benefits of its strategic use."

It may not sound like rocket science, but it is a nice confirmation of what we already know.

For regular comment on enterprise open source, read Glyn Moody's Open Enterprise blog