Open Source Barometer…

I read an interesting article in IT Week about Alfresco’s Open Source Barometer. In case you’re unaware of this it’s an attempt by Alfresco to look at the amount that Open Source tools are infiltrating at the enterprise level. It’s biased of course since it’s a study done by people who have tried Alfresco but the bits that interest me about it are the ‘snowball’ efect that is taking place in organisations, to put this simply when companies begin to realise that Open Source tools can work at enterprise level and explore this in practise they then quickly start moving a number of other services over.

This is to my mind the ‘moving out of your comfort zone’ experience. I used to be a big Mac user (not with fries) and I switched to PC’s and Wintel in 2000 when I switched jobs as I was given a PC and the organisation was exploring a ‘single platform policy’ although it was called something much less draconian than that so that you could theoretically get Macs or Linux etc. but it was discouraged. I have however maintained a portion of Macs within our unit as I see them as important for particular areas where they have always (in my opinion) excelled over Wintel PC’s. I’m happy to say that things are starting to change in the organisation and I read recently a blog post by Niall Sclater about the OU’s policy to embrace Macs again and look at ‘browser based’ rather than platform based solutions. This is at the student level of course but I see this as an endorcement that staff should also be exploring ‘appropriate platform’ use. The right tool for the job. Take those little Eee’s for example, don’t you just love them.

Seriously though when educational institutions start feeling the pinch then spending out over 1million pounds on a single enterprise tool and being tied to one company for support and maintenance can seem like a step in the wrong direction.

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About willwoods
I'm Head of Learning and Teaching Technologies in the Institute of Educational Technology at the Open University.

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