Like many institutional issues we face, the best fit for each of us might be
related "institutional culture". While we've found many institutions are
happiest with a corporate partner to provide service... while many others
don't feel the need. Although half the uP users have purchased some sort of
commercial support, the other half hasn't. While some think community
support won't cut it, there are many who don't think commercial support cuts
My personal belief is that its not as simple as "community" vs
"commercial"... it has more to do with the quality of the community and the
quality of the company. The support Delware has received from the uP
community is superior to support provided by some of our software vendors.
I'm fond of telling people "if I post a query on the uP list, I get three
answers in 15 minutes, for 2 countries, while my $150/hr ERP consultants
have been less than helpful."
And while we don't know how long the community will remain interested in
uP... most of the institutions behind the co-opt aren't likely to go out of
business in the next few years... can't say that about some of my software
Another aspect of community source code is that many, many eyeballs see the
code and know the system. This can allow the community to compete with
software vendors in regards to critical support.
Like much of life, variety seems to have value, choices are important. I
like having the best of both worlds...a community that is very active and
very good and provides a high level of support service... but works
side-by-side with active and knowledgable commercial partners who sell have
high level of support service.... apples for those who like apples and
oranges for those who don't.
When talking co-opt development the discussion is often "community" vs
"compamy", but for some of us its useful to compare "community" with "home
built". There are folks who author their own portal software, or learning
managment apps, or web billing services. The co-opt effort can also score
well here in the area of long term support.
----- Original Message -----
From: "Alfred Essa" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Thursday, February 05, 2004 8:55 PM
Subject: Re: [CIO] Technology Development Co-op
Carl makes an important point about open source projects. As much as I am an
advocate of open source communities and open source projects, I firmly
believe that ³pure² open source plays are not viable (except perhaps for
hobbyists or researchers) in the long run. The fact that companies (plural
is important here) have rallied behind uPortal speaks to its strength.
Unless companies see a business model (support, services, extensions) in an
open source application and begin to provide solutions around it, the
application will not gain a foothold in production environments. The more
critical the application, the more critical will be this need. At the end of
the day, when my critical application is down, for example, I want to pick
up the phone, call someone, and have them take responsibility for the
resolution. Having to rely on an open source community or a co-op for
support just wonıt cut it. The potential risk exposure associated with
certain open source software should not be overlooked. As in all things,
itıs a question of which tradeoffs one is willing to make.
Alfred H. Essa
Chief Information Officer
MIT Sloan School of Management
From: Carl Jacobson <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To: The EDUCAUSE CIO Constituent Group Listserv
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