Open source software management guide for CIOs

Open source software and downloads, which lack proprietary code, can save enterprises big bucks. Get the latest analyst predictions, case studies and more to help you make smart open source investment decisions.

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Open source software and downloads, which lack proprietary code, can save enterprises big bucks. Get the latest analyst predictions, case studies and more to help you make smart open source management decisions.

This CIO Briefing is part of the SearchCIO.com CIO Briefing series, which is designed to give IT leaders strategic guidance and advice that addresses the management and decision-making aspects of timely topics. For a complete list of topics covered to date, visit the CIO Briefing section.

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Vendors duke it out over open source 'forking'

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A growing number of vendors are looking for ways to protect their intellectual property while still keeping their technology "open." But this effort to protect themselves is causing some confusion (and resentment) within the open source community. Experts are divided over whether this is a problem, or just a natural evolution of software development.

This exploitation of open source shouldn't surprise anyone. This week, Framingham, Mass.-based IDC projected that the market will grow from $1.8 billion in 2006 to $5.8 billion in 2011. There's a lot at stake.

Many vendors have adopted methods that inhibit other companies from "forking" their technology. In open source, forking is the act of modifying and rebranding one vendor's technology and building a new business model around it.

Learn more in "Vendors duke it out over open source 'forking'." Also:

  • CIOs struggle with open source governance, cite lack of tools
    Open source software is running amuck because IT managers can't find the right tool to get their heads around the hundreds, sometimes thousands, of downloads within their networks.
  • Open source lures cost-conscious CIOs
    Can't foot the bill for high-end enterprise software? Some midmarket CIOs are turning to emerging commercial open source vendors. They've got the goods, they're eager for your business and the price is right. But there are some risks, so go in with your eyes wide open.

Vendors-turned-open source rally round midmarket

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Midmarket CIOs with limited budgets will find more options as enterprise software, once cost-prohibitive, is suddenly within reach.

That's because a growing number of software companies, in need of bigger profit margins, are going open source.

"I think in general it's part of a larger trend," said Alex Fletcher, lead technology analyst at Entiva Group Inc. in Silver Spring, Md. "A lot of companies are realizing the benefits of having the code base open. A lot of times it's products that have reached the end of their lifecycle. The company puts it out there to see what comes of it."

But Fletcher said a growing number of small and midsized vendors are turning to open source to help them compete. "Open source is becoming a bit of a leveler, if you will. You can have a similar product, but when it's open source you are able to offer a little more value for people. For people who might be thinking of using your software, there is a lower barrier of participation. And you're able to tap into fixes from the community."

Find out more in "Vendors-turned-open source rally round midmarket." Also:

  • Open source and SMBs: Open your mind
    Open source software has become popular with SMBs, thanks to its price and security. But what do you really know about open source software management? Find out with our quiz!
  • Open source software options for the midmarket
    Open source software has caught on with SMBs, thanks to advances in security as well as a growing acceptance of its use. Learn more in this IT Management Guide.

IBM vows solution to identity theft outbreak

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The TJX Cos.' Ben Cammarata is not the only retailer pulling out his hair over identity theft. There are countless ways customers' personal information can be compromised. For companies and organizations desperate to get out of the business of authenticating, digging up and holding information on customers they do business with online, Big Blue might have an escape hatch.

New technology developed by IBM and released last week to the open source community promises to let consumers do business online without disclosing personal information.

Developed by IBM's laboratory in Zurich, Switzerland, the software puts identity management in the hands of consumers, the company said, and could help merchants as well by limiting their liability.

Identity Mixer, as it's called, uses sophisticated cryptographic algorithms to ensure that sensitive information -- a person's date of birth, Social Security number, bank balance or real credit card numbers -- is never disclosed to the inquiring online party.

Learn more in "IBM vows solution to identity theft outbreak." Also:

  • Wikis in the enterprise face security, compliance challenges
    As more CIOs consider enterprise adoption of wikis, such as those based on the open source DokuWiki, security, management control and compliance remain their top concerns.
  • IBM makes U-turn, joins OpenOffice
    OpenOffice enjoyed a jolt of adrenaline this week as IBM announced Monday that it will join the open source software initiative. Analysts say the move should give OpenOffice a significant boost in its quest to take on Microsoft Office, but will it be enough?

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This was first published in January 2008

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