OSBC2004: When to Not Use Open Source Methods

Martin Fink, CTO of HP's Linux group and author of the book The Business and Economics of Linux and Open Source gave some reasons not to use open source in your business. This was not the bulk of Martin's message, but I thought this idea was good given what I'd just posted about Jim Grey.

  • Product is a control point for the company
  • Product should go obsolete
  • Cost does not justify benefit
  • Misdirection and defocusing of resources
  • Intellectual property risk cannot be justified
  • To compete against open source community
  • Just because its cool technology
  • Technology direction doesn't match strategic goals
  • Time to market is critical

I think that this, seemingly negative, message is a good rejoinder to the statement made by Jim Grey because it stresses that any corporation is going to evaluate open source software on its merits and engage in open source development when its beneficial. While this seems like common sense, it is logic that is lost in the debate. Good, well-managed companies work to increase shareholder value. Consequently, these companies should be engaging in a clear-headed evaluation of the advantages and disadvantages of open source--using it where it makes sense and not using it where it doesn't.