It’s more than 14 years with Linux, and I still come across young engineers hell bent on saying not to support commercial Linux or Windows distribution. I been always an open-source evangelist in my twenties and spoke against distributions like windows and mac. But now it’s different. I today work & consult for IT firms and the business does not care if it’s open-source or paid. It asks for:
- How good the support is ?
- How many man hours spent for implementation?
- How cross compatible it can be ?
- What enterprise risk it brings into the the ecosystem ?
- What purpose does it solve ?
- What are the internal training needs to manage ?
- What is the ROI ?
Today, it’s no more easy for IT leaders to walk into CFO and sell what they want to implement. If you propose to install a free Linux OS across the enterprise and that it would cut cost from X to X -1, it will be happily approved. But that would be equivalent to shooting oneself in the foot. Linux though good on the server side is still far behind for general use in enterprise as a desktop operating system. As IT leaders you just do not think of an Operating system as a pure solution for end customer. But with that come Governance, Security, BCP, Privacy etc. Moreover all existing applications placed in the ecosystem is based on what the customer wants, or to develop what the customer needs and spending time on tinkering with available solutions (with or without support) is far time consuming compared to a commercial solution. I am not saying that commercial solution is the way to go and there are many open-source solutions which may fit or work with your existing requirement but most of the time the call has to be made based on business requirement.
Technology supports the business and vice versa and you need to wear both hats to think like an IT leader before you make decisions. It cannot be purely based on evangelism or your support for open-source.