I am not ideological zealot for open source, but rather have experienced the the value proposition first hand – and do think that it is a great deal for all the parties involved, when the relationship works and is based on real trust and shared value.
Alfresco ECM is a prime example of that. I am thoroughly impressed on the professionalism and the quality of the software. Even though Alfresco is pretty impressive straight out of the box, it is not like traditional commercial off the shelf (COTS) software – but rather a platform, which you can extend to build customized solutions. And even though annual licences can cost a lot of money, its is not for just a ’licence’ – but a subscription for a constant stream of updates, new features and world class support to help you, when or if there are unforeseen problems with JVM or some other component.
Spring Source’s Spring Framework with the whole umbrella of Spring-related projects from web flow management to security, integration and webservices – is another great example of high quality professional enterprise open source software. In just few years Spring Framework has become the de facto application framework and middleware for custom application development. It is what Java Enterprise Edition should have been.
Similarly Pentaho Business Intelligence Suite has started to look impressive piece of software with a great amount of features and some nice design ideas, even though I haven’t yet taken the dive into the source code. Pentaho crossed my path as I was trying to find reporting solution, which could be integrated into custom applications and simple examples with Pentaho — well looked so simple that I got really interested. Now I am taking Pentaho out for a testdrive and trying to learn what else can I do with it.
My interest and bias for enterprise open source has only grown stronger – as I have seen really amazingly impressive demos and roadmaps for some extremely expensive closed source commercial off the shelf software. I’ve seen really impressive features and clever ideas, but unfortunately it is very unlikely that I will see any time soon a project – where it would be economically viable to use those programs with clever features and ideas. I’ll just have to figure out how to solve problems and build solutions with tools at hand.
Fortunately we live in day and age, where great opensource enterprise software can provide a strong foundation for huge amount of different needs. There are still countless places, where one has to select closed source COTS-solution – but domains where opensource enterprise software provide a viable and potential alternative are growing. And I like it.
Professional opensource enterprise software rocks!