Subject: Re: Computer Survey on perceived advantages of Open Source
From: Laurent GUERBY <laurent@guerby.net>
Date: Fri, 13 May 2005 20:32:24 +0200

On Thu, 2005-05-12 at 16:12 -0700, Cliff Schmidt wrote:
> I wonder if these same people shy away from using open source projects
> that are controlled by a single vendor (e.g. JBoss, MySQL, etc).  Of
> course, the users have the ability to fork the project, but that is
> very costly and disruptive.  IMO, users of vendor-run open source
> software projects take on more risk (assuming they invest heavily in
> integrating the software into the rest of their business) than those
> who use closed source software that is built on industry standards.

I'm curious on how you justify this point of view. 

If a closed source software goes bad (abysmal support, no bug fix, no
migration to new hardware or platform), you have no option, you're dead.
It happens just about continuously.

If an open source software goes bad and it has only one active vendor,
you still have the right to the sources and can either continue to
maintain in house or talk to other former customers or community to set
up something together. Normal market forces, ie competition on support
not destroyed by government granted monopolies thanks to the open source
setup, would also obviously respond to the incentive of getting some $
for restoring support and that mean that a company would already be
there to continue support. I'm not aware of a failure there, do you have
an example?

On many proprietary platforms, so the only software still active are
open source software, long after the vendor dropped the platform, that
says something IMHO.

One new risk that you have with open source is to go and tie your
software to the open source software internal code and things go
bad, but in general you'll be just using external API and there's no
difference between open and closed software there, it all comes
from wether the API has multiple competing implementations or not.

Laurent