How open source is your business / team / developer?

open source enough?
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(10 votes)

Jonathan Schwartz once wrote (in a blog that has now been deleted) about how they were in talks with an organization (he did not reveal the name, but no prizes for guessing) who contented they have a solid database and their developers have no need to use an open source database.

Schwartz's team pulled up their MySQL web server logs to show loads of download requests it received from the organization's IP range. The point is, an organization in the business of developing proprietary software cannot say they do not need or have nothing to do with open source. May not be as a strategic decision, the developers do need and use open source software and tools in their day-to-day work.

For me, I touch 10 or more open source software or tools in one work hour and have 50 or so installed on my work station. Many other developers are in a similar situation, thus can organizations today claim ignorance or apathy towards open source?

Use this progressive 10-point maturity scale to see how your organization measures up:

  1. Developers don't get much outside feedback or try new things. They work with software like they always have.
  2. Developers and project managers have heard of open source and may revere it, but are not allowed to use it.
  3. Some employees organize talks on open source, make some noise, but that's about it.
  4. Developers use open source, but because it is not 'as per policy' further innovation and/or use is not discussed.
  5. Developers have an open source policy for use, but it's strict.
  6. Developers actively use open source, policy or not, and maintain an internal directory of useful projects.
  7. Organization has well-documented guidelines for evaluating open source licenses and software that explains to developers how to choose the right projects.
  8. Open source is default and developers are encouraged to contribute back.
  9. Developers are given time to work on open source projects.
  10. The organization sponsors and maintains at least one open source project.

Where do you rank? Most organizations fall between #4 and #5. Is that enough?

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5 Comments

craigharffey's picture
Open Source Evangelist

If our little company was big enough for a dev or 2, we'd be a 10. For now, its about advocacy and using where possible.

Travis Paul's picture
Open Enthusiast

Surprisingly we're at about a 8.5. Not too bad, could be better. This would have made a nice poll.

Entente Software's picture

I hope that 7 becomes the norm. Anything more is impressive at this time.

Anon's picture

I have been using open source and free (libre) software since 1992. My organization is 100% open source and free (libre) software for day-to-day tasks and development tasks and research.

Ryan Thrash's picture

11. You trust in Open Source to depend on it for your living, to keep your kids clothed and fed, and to have hundreds of thousands of people around the world who trust in your OS software …

That would be us at MODX. We go to 11. ;)