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Re: [SLUG] Applications of OS methodology [Was: Can Open Source/ linux GRASS 5, PHP/PostgreSQL, etc. cut the crap?]


> 
> > Given that open source platforms can deliver effective and affordable
> > community information systems what is the open source community currently
> > doing to apply open source principles to platform marketing, project
> > management, integration and servicing? 
> 

Servicing: Most of these requirements are performed admirably by a
number of open source integration companies and by contractors who move
their knowledge between companies on a frequent basis.  At the expensive
end of the market - those likely to be listened to by government due to
the 'safety' factor - you have IBM and that ilk, at the lower end the
rest of us...

Marketing: In terms of open source principals to platform marketing I
think Open Office http://www.openoffice.org are moving well in this
regard with a marketing project with it's own contributors and some
excellent output. For community-based projects (read charities)
ComputerBank is doing an increasingly excellent job in marketing
Linux-based solutions to help charities remove the IT budget from the
equation. Commercially, several companies (including my own) have
invested significantly in marketing Linux solutions and as with such
ventures, some succeed and some fail. I for one would welcome a more
united effort. At the larger and more Government-acceptable end of town,
a recent IBM roadshow touted Linux as an 'excellent server product' -
read - not ready for the desktop. To that end, their examples were
impressive and it's good to have them on our side of the fence (I think)
. To put it in perspective, the implementation that Microsoft are
gunning to bring down at the moment is Linux with Websphere (a J2EE
Application Server) as they see it as the biggest threat to .net. If
developers choose J2EE over .net, then MS will eventually not be able to
sell servers and clients based upon business apps using MS only
platforms (the base language Java works across them all). That is a bad
point for them to reach. I think that there will be a lot more FUD (Fear
Uncertainty and Doubt) from MS directed at Linux for this reason. When I
talk to clients and prospects, I mention that Linux is all about open
standards, community and moving us ALL forward. 'Vendor lock-in' being
the buzzword that most businesses now understand.

Integration: The open source community to some degree does this via
'distributions'. For example Mandrake, Debian, Suse and Red Hat all add
value by providing excellent 'integrated' arrays of Linux-based
software. The pace at which these have improved in the five years I've
been watching is staggering. Even so, there is still a long way to go.
Particularly in the area of tying together stuff with tools to make it
easy. For example -  LDAP authentication can take a long long time (and
require an experienced contractor) to implement. As I stated however,
solutions to make these configuration and management things easier are
coming and fast. Some script-based sysadmins will tell you that these
solutions are already there. Unfortunately, bigger enterprises will
frequently not bet the business on these assurances.

The great thing about all this is that the changes are still rolling out
and at an accelerated pace. Gnome desktop and KDE today are many many
times what they were in terms of functionality as little as three years
ago. 

In answer to your original question. Yes - open source could do what you
are after via a LAMP (Linux-Apache-MySQL-PHP) implementation or even via
other means. http://www.jboss.org which is a J2EE App Server without the
license costs.

HTH


Stuart Guthrie