Monday, December 8, 2008

Survey Highlights Open Source Perceptions, Pitfalls

Chances are, your IT shop uses open source software (OSS). Indeed, the overwhelming majority of enterprises use OSS in some part of their organization -- and therein lies the problem. If you do use OSS, market watcher Gartner Inc. recommends you have an official OSS policy. But a surprising number of open source adopters are operating without one.

Eighty-five percent of respondents to a recent Gartner survey report they've adopted open source solutions. Of these, more than two-thirds (69 percent) say they haven't yet implemented policies for formally evaluating or cataloguing the use of open source assets in their environments. One upshot, the consulting firm warned, is that adopters that haven't codified official OSS policies are leaving themselves exposed to intellectual-property (IP) infringement violations.

"Just because something is free, doesn't mean that it has no cost," said Laurie Wurster, research director at Gartner, in a statement. "Companies must have a policy for procuring OSS, deciding which applications will be supported by OSS and identifying the intellectual property risk or supportability risk associated with using OSS. Once a policy is in place, then there must be a governance process to enforce it."

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